Paris, Fignon and Blondin

This won’t be the most read post of the year but hopefully it’ll sit quietly on the site to help those asking search engines for information.

Every few months a reader will email to ask where to find Laurent Fignon’s grave in Paris. There’s no grave, the double Tour de France winner died in 2010 and was cremated. His remains were placed in the Père Lachaise cemetery in Paris, a tourist attraction for the graves of Jim Morrison, Oscar Wilde, Edith Piaf and more.

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Laurent Fignon remembered

French rider Laurent Fignon died two years ago today.

The photo is from 1982. Fignon is in his first season as a pro and has already impressed. He won the Criterium International and played a big part in helping fellow Renault rider Bernard Hinault win the Giro d’Italia, all whilst finishing 15th overall too.

After this good start Fignon was sent home in July to rest whilst Hinault went on to win the Tour de France. With his bike on holiday Fignon kept training and towards the end of the season it was Hinault’s turn to rest. On the morning of Paris-Tours Fignon stood up and told the team he wanted to be the leader that day. His team laughed.

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Paris-Nice, a history of innovation

Paris-Nice starts this Sunday and you’ll find a race preview with a permanent link at the top of the page.

But first a look back because this is a race of innovation. Over the years it has welcomed exotic teams, transported riders by air and invented new race rules. Through the race’s history we can trace the evolution of the sport we know today. With other races in trouble today, Paris-Nice can perhaps provide some tips for success.

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Fignon, one year already

Laurent Fignon passed away one year ago today. A talented and exciting rider, the Frenchman would go from the neo-pro shown above to win grand tours and classics alike. For me his free thinking and straight talking set him apart, he was much more than a successful racer. If you’re unfamiliar with him, his autobiography … Read more

How to retire

I’ve covered how to turn pro in the past so with the news that Lance Armstrong has again announced his retirement, some thoughts about ending a pro career. Without dwelling on his case, I think Armstrong effectively left the sport last July and only really appeared for the Tour Down Under in order to collect … Read more

Fignon and the truth

Laurent Fignon is on the front page of all the French newspapers I saw in my local tabac today. L’Equipe calls him “Un Mec à Part“, or a “different kind of guy”. I can’t add to all the anecdotes and quotes. As ever, The Inner Ring is about taking a different angle on things. So … Read more

A tribute to Laurent Fignon

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 … Read more

Fignon’s Combativity Prize

Whilst the debate over a dropped chain rages to the extent of excluding Thomas Voeckler’s impressive win, one thing worth mentioning is the special prize awarded on the day to Laurent Fignon. One rider a day is awarded the Prix de la Combativité, a reward for the most attacking rider of the day. Voeckler won … Read more

Fignon: book review

We We Young and Carefreeby Laurent FignonHere’s a review of Fignon’s autobiography. It contains a few elements from the book so if you worry I’ll spoil the read for you, look away. Fignon’s autobiography caused a storm when it came out. For the wrong reasons. Fignon had just announced he’d been diagnosed with cancer and … Read more

Real dope

I’ve been reading Laurent Fignon’s autobiography, of which an English translation is due out this summer and will write a review soon. One brief anecdote from the book. In the 1987 Vuelta, Fignon finished third to Colombia’s Luis Herrera. The first Colombian winner of a Grand Tour, it was a massive victory for South American … Read more