Very sad news today that Laurent Fignon has died, aged 50. I’m sometimes uncomfortable with the sentimentalism that appears when someone who we didn’t know dies. People eulogise but can’t claim to know the person, this can undermine their nice words.
Yet without knowing the man, I wouldn’t be writing this blog if it wasn’t for Laurent Fignon. For a variety of reasons I glanced at the 1989 Tour de France… and got hooked for life. In particular it was the excitement and panache of this rider that drew me in. Now this blog is inconsequential, what I’m saying is that this rider was exciting and complicated enough to make me follow, and eventually, take up the sport and plenty has happened because of this.
1989 changed a lot. In time came new friends, travel, health, happiness and more. Chance, oh yes, but Fignon started a very long chain of events in my life.
Maybe all this wouldn’t have happened if he’d not been there to liven up the Tour de France? I’ve heard others saying they too got into the sport because of the 1989 and those eight seconds.
I could write plenty about Laurent Fignon but if you want to find out more, I’d recommend his excellent biography, “We Were Young and Carefree” available in both French and English.
In the book he explained he wasn’t scared of death and whilst today is a sad one for me, it’s also an inspiration to live life as full as we can, on and off the bike. The man may be dead but the memories are immortal.