1989 Tour de France stage nine: Indurain's mountain win

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Monday July 10, 1989

Pau-Cauterets, 147km

At last the mist-enshrouded Pyrenees reared up their jagged peaks about the Tour and dared any brave soul to take them on in this first day in the mountains.

It was Spain’s Miguel Indurain, under orders from his Reynolds captain Pedro Delgado, who attacked and took his place in the Tour history books with a lone victory after a 100-kilometre break over five peaks.

Indurain, winner of this year’s Paris-Nice and the Criterium International, broke away on the first-category Col de Marie Blanque after chasing and catching early leader Robert Forest (Fagor) on this 10-kilometre long climb.

They plummeted to the valley and headed for the big one, the 1,700-metre high Col d’Aubisque, a hors-category climb 18 kilometres long.

The main field re-grouped behind them and on the Aubisque Indurain dropped Forest to cross the summit 2-13 ahead. All the heads of the race were in the next big group, including the yellow jersey Greg LeMond (ADR) trailing Indurain by 2-40. But mountains leader Thierry Claveyrolat (RMO) nursing a broken wrist, retired, unable to hold the handlebars.

Indurain gained more time on the gravel-strewn descent along a rocky shelf that served as a road, wedged in a sheer mountain wall, no fence separating anyone from the 600-metre drop.

Several riders took off in pursuit, with Anselmo Fuerte (BH) succeeding in staying clear to take second place at 27 seconds to the top of Cauterets Le Cambasque, the 10-kilometre long first category mountain top finish. Others in his wake were not so lucky. Fuerte’s team-mate Javier Murguialday, and Indurain’s team-mate William Palacio, fought hard but failed to stay out of the clutches of the main field.

For there was a reaction at last from the exclusive group lying over five minutes behind, and it led to their disintegration. Charly Mottet (RMO) attacked before a right-hander and pulled away, followed by Gert-Jan Theunisse (PDM).

Immediately, Delgado soared after them, caught them and took command, then dropped them. Riding like a train, Delgado rode straight by Palacio and Murguialday and pressed on in pursuit of Fuerte and his team-mate Indurain.

But both held out, Indurain for a hero’s welcome, to win 27 seconds ahead of Fuerte and 1-29 up on Delgado, third.

With a superbly worked move PDM’s Steven Rooks and Theunisse ensured Sean Kelly led in a seven-man group for fourth place and tighten his hold on the green jersey, Fignon, LeMond and Luc Roosen (Histor) finishing two seconds behind.

This shot Kelly from 17th to fifth overall and gave him the combine jersey to go with the green points jersey. But Stephen Roche (Fagor) finished 85th at 14-34. Dropped on the Col du Marie Blanque, he regained the field only to be left again on the Aubisque.

LeMond retained his yellow jersey with Fignon still second at five seconds.

Stage winner Indurain moved from 38th to eighth overall.


1. Miguel Indurain (Spa) Reynolds 4-32-36

2. Anselmo Fuerte (Spa) BH at 27secs

3. Pedro Delgado (Spa) Reynolds at 1-29

4. Sean Kelly (Ire) PDM at 1-56

5. Steven Rooks  (Ned) PDM st


1. Greg LeMond (USA) ADR 41-45-49

2. Laurent Fignon (Fra) Super-U at 5secs

3. Pascal Simon (Fra) Super-U at 3-56

4. Charly Mottet (Fra) RMO at 4-9

5. Sean Kelly (Ire) PDM at 4-52


1. Miguel Indurain (Spa) Reynolds 94pts

2 Gert-Jan Theunisse (Ned) PDM 75pts

3. Luis Herrera (Col) Café de Colombia 53pts


1. Sean Kelly (Ire) PDM 143pts

2. Etienne De Wilde (Bel) Histor-Sigma 114pts

3. Soren Lilholt (Den) Histor-Sigma 107pts

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