Miguel Indurain, Spanish, 1964 -
Miguel Indurain won the Tour de France for 5 consecutive years from 1991 to 1995. A tall man, at 6’ 2”, his strategy was to utterly dominate the time trials, actively defend in the mountains and give interviews that ran to as few words as possible. On the bike, he looked very composed, untroubled and strangely contented. You could readily believe the legend that his lungs had the capacity of a small aircraft hanger and that his resting pulse rate would have worried a corpse. Unlike Eddy Merckx, who seemed to want to compete to win every stage, Indurain was more than happy to lose a few battles in order to win the war - and as such he prefigured much of the ‘systematic’ way of winning the Tour that is so loved of teams like Sky (and of course was so loved by US Postal). But Indurain’s Banesto Team never quite seemed to feel the need to bully the peleton in the same way as Sky and US Postal. Or perhaps they were just more subtle about it.
Strangely, for a big man, I first became aware of Indurain when he won a classic climber’s stage in the Pyrenees in (I think) the 1989 Tour - making a long break with (possibly) Claudio Chiapucci - so he was no mean climber when he put his mind to it. The image of that stage win stayed in my mind throughout his subsequent, stellar, career.
Definitively European, Indurain won all his Tours riding with Campagnolo derailleurs - and you would have it no other way.
I think that this photo is from the 1994 Tour. This is the first of two photos of Miguel Indurain. The other is here.