6 January 2015 | MartinHafer
Wow...I never realized just how cutthroat this all was...
One thing I should point out about this film. It was produced for ESPN and I wonder if the same angle would have been taken had it been made by a French company or one from outside the US. As is, the film seemed to have a strong bias against the French champion, Bernard Hinault.
Apparently, back in the 1980s, the tradition of the Tour de France was that you'd have various teams and each team would designate one person as the leader--THE person who could win for the team. And, the rest of the racers were considered 'domestiques'--men who would set him up for the win and forgo trying for the championship. This strategy was explained in the 1985 Tour when the Hinault was injured but his teammate, Greg LeMond, held back to give Hinault the victory. LeMond was, according to LeMond and some teammates, promised that because of this selfless act that he would be the leader and have his chance for winning in 1986. However, after the race began, it seemed that the team's captain and Hinault had other ideas--to have Hinault NOT be one of the domestiques but fight hard for the victory yet again! The film is mostly about LeMond's sense of betrayal and anger that he'd been apparently tricked by his own team! Yet, despite this, he was able to rise to the occasion and win despite the odds.
In addition, the film touches on a few other topics at the end--but only briefly. For example, although LeMond was a HUGE and vocal opponent about performance enhancing drugs, his opposition to Lance Armstrong and others seems a bit minimized--and it doesn't exactly revel in the truth that LeMond was apparently speaking--as folks (especially Armstrong) WERE cheating. The other topic mentioned was LeMond's comeback after getting shot in a hunting accident! Yikes!
Overall, this is a very interesting and very well made installment in the series. But, as I mentioned above, I still wonder if the film might have taken a different tact--especially had it been made by French folks who might have seen the whole Hinault/LeMond controversy differently.
By the way, if you wonder about the plastic brace LeMond is wearing in the film it's because of his recent car accident in which he broke his back. However, apparently he is just fine now and the brace was only for a few months.