The Last Rider

The Last Rider

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The story of Greg LeMond, a retired American cyclist, is full of personal conflicts and difficulties that he faced while making his way back to success in 1989 Tour de France. It is about a former great racehorse “Slaying the Badger”,The Last Rider which aired on ESPN’s documentary series called “30 for 30”.

“The Last Ride” shows how Bernhard Hinault, Frenchman helped him win the second last year’s Tour and begin rivalry with 25-years-old LeMond during ‘86 Tour de France. Nevertheless, he did not relish his victory in it. His depression was caused by Hinault’s stone-cold betrayal as well as contributed in his memory memories of sexual abuse at age thirteen from another family friend and another alleged loved one who betrayed him. However, when he got back to America, things became even worse for him. On one Christmas day, his brother-in-law accidentally shot him whilst hunting turkey and left him in critical condition. (LeMond fought for his life at the same hospital where Kathy was almost delivered.)

After that incident LeMond began to undergo periods of rehabilitation to become professional bike racer again having more than forty bullets into his body. Most part of this movie takes place during ‘89 tour where he is portrayed as one of the participants. At this time he partnered with Laurent Fignon who had previously dashed Hinault’s hopes; remember Fignon? He won the ’84 tour but came second to Hinault next year, whom LeMond assisted.

During their journey to outdo each other Fignon almost pedaled off all his balls just to beat LeMond who was just testing himself against bigger dogs.

Holmes’ “The Last Rider” is an engaging work providing valuable insight into racing world by means of footage recorded mainly by tape Chronicles made with family members’ help.” In addition Pedro Delgado (who nearly missed ‘89 tour’s prologue) and Cyrille Guimard, LeMond, Fignon and Hinault former cyclist and coach are interviewed.

While “The Last Rider” paints a picture of villainous Fignon, who died in 2010 from cancer (any Frenchmen in the book including Guimard with his big heart and Hinault), this isn’t brought up by Holmes or LeMond. That year he tested positive for amphetamines on two separate occasions but Holmes doesn’t mention it in “The Last Rider”. It might be thought that the ex-anti-doping campaigner LeMond would have been able to suggest that Fignon was on those drugs. Yet LeMond’s only insinuation is that Fignon was holding onto a motorcycle during the race.

“The Last Rider” can be regarded as one of those films where an American young man stands against European rival (Fignon even looks like the blonde guy from “Die Hard” who tried to kill Bruce Willis) on live TV across the globe if you love sports movies. This is a wonderful portrayal of one guy going through hell just to get to where he wanted to go both literally and metaphorically.

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