It seems fitting that right after getting to see Greg LeMond’s TVT Carbon race bike at the Mavic 125th Anniversary presentation, that ESPN would air their 30 for 30 program titled Slaying the Badger. Now, as the only clean Tour de France winner from the United States, LeMond holds an even greater place in American cycling history, though there are many who knew that all a long. In addition to being the first American to win the Tour, Greg was also one of the first to use carbon fiber with his 1986 win against Bernard “the Badger” Hinault being carbon’s first.
On special loan to the Mavic Yellow house for the event, Greg’s 1989 winning TVT carbon bike was his return to the peloton after nearly being killed in a hunting accident. In addition to the revolutionary carbon fiber tubes bonded to aluminum lugs, Greg’s bike was also outfitted with Mavic wheels and a Mavic drivetrain which was a major departure from the overwhelming use of Campagnolo at the time. As the story goes, LeMond went on to beat Laurent Fignon by just 8 seconds after an amazing time trial where Greg finished 58 seconds ahead on the final stage.
The rest as they say, is history. But you can check out Greg’s bike after the break…
1989 was not the first use of carbon by LeMond, but he continued its winning ways. The TVT frame uses carbon kevlar tubes that are bonded into aluminum lugs. The construction method was similar to aluminum frames of the day, just with carbon tubes in the center.
In spite of never really catching on, Mavic’s drivetrain components always seemed to be ahead of their time. Just look at the Mavic ZMS shifting system that was unveiled in 1993. As the world’s first electronic rear derailleur, it was 15 years ahead of Shimano. In a sea of Campagnolo, LeMond’s Mavic drivetrain stood out. The drivetrain has a few parts that aren’t Mavic including the Simplex Retrofriction shifters. Greg was running Time pedals in 1989 (thanks Mark).
In a world of 11 and even 12 speed drivetrains, 8 gears doesn’t seem like a whole lot, but it was at the time.
Mavic single pivot brakes clamp down on Mavic SSC rims.
Internal cable routing in carbon tubes. So future.
The Mavic équipment stickers provided inspiration for many of the builders of the 125th Anniversary bikes. Thanks to Mavic for allowing us to check out this piece of history!