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  Miguel Indurain    

Picture courtesy of www.corvos.nl
Spain’s Miguel Indurain, born on July 16, 1964, was the dominant Grand Tour rider in the 1990’s with seven victories in the Grand Tours.

He won five consecutive wins (1991 through 1995) in the Tour de France, Indurain being the first to accomplish this feat.

“Big Mig” also won the Giro d’Italia twice, in 1992 and 1993, which gave him the victories in the Tour / Giro during those two years.

Indurain’s strategy for victory was similar to that of Jacques Anquetil. That is, to win the time trials and hold on in the mountains.

Indurain, however, could more than just hold on in the mountains. He was an accomplished climber and could apply pressure in the mountains as well. In addition, he was a force on the flats due to his large frame.

During his peak years, Indurain was the dominant rider in the time trials. He was the first to win the time trial when it was introduced in the Olympics in 1996.

Indurain also won the World Championship Time Trial in 1995.

Though Indurain didn’t win any of cycling’s five monuments, he did win the San Sebastian Classic, one of cycling’s major classics.

Indurain never won a World Championship Road Race, but he came close on three occassions.

In the 1993 World Championship Road Race, Indurain was 2nd behind 21 year-old Lance Armstrong from the USA, a year in which Indurain won the Tour de France and the Giro d’Italia.

A win in the World Championship Road Race that year would have given Indurain the coveted “Triple Crown”, a feat which has happened only twice: in 1974 by Eddy Merckx and in 1987 by Stephen Roche.

Indurain was also 2nd in the World Championship Road Race in 1995. In that race, he played the perfect team-mate to Abraham Olana, and blocked other riders by sitting in their draft while they were trying to chase down Olano.

That year, the road race was held on a difficult circuit, and Indurain was probably the strongest rider.

Picture courtesy of www.corvos.nl

Picture courtesy of www.maxciclismo.com
The super climber, Marco Pantani from Italy was third which demonstrates how selective the course was that year.

One amazing fact from the race is that Abraham Olano, the winner that year, crossed the line with a flat tire. He had ridden the last kilometre or two (the last mile or so) of the race on a flat.

Indurain was also 3rd in the 1991 World Championship Road Race behind Gianni Bugno of Italy and Steven Rooks of Holland.

In other Grand Tour events, Indurain was 2nd in the 1991 Vuelta a Espana behind Melchor Mauri Prat of Spain.

Indurain was also 3rd in the 1994 Giro d'Italia behind Evgeni Berzin of Russia and Marco Pantani of Italy.

Indurain spent the majority of his racing effort in stage races.

In addition to the CyclingHallofFame.com designated races, he won other major stage races like the Paris–Nice twice; the Daphine Libere twice, and the Tour of Catalonia three times.

Indurain’s reign in the Tour de France came to an end in 1996 when he was defeated rather soundly by Denmark’s Bjarne Riis.

Indurain retired from racing after winning the Olympic Time Trial in 1996.

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