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By Paul Verkuylen Before Lance, there was Miguel Indurain, known as 'big Mig' both for his physical...
By Paul Verkuylen
Before Lance, there was Miguel Indurain, known as 'big Mig' both for his physical size and his enormous VO2 max of 88 ml/kg/min. From 1991 through until 1995 the giant Spaniard dominated the Tour de France, a period of success captured in Cyclingnews' latest Tour de France video highlights package, in much the same fashion that Lance went on to do during his reign at the top.
Indurain started out as a loyal domestique to 1988 Tour winner Pedro Delgado before going on to apply all that he learnt from his mentor and destroying the entire field on the Tour each year by almost five minutes each time.
Indurain's tactic were simple, gain time on his rivals in the time trials, a discipline he was seemingly built for as the Spaniard won only two non-TT Tour stages, something that he was criticised for on numerous occasions. He then spent the rest of the tour limiting his losses in the mountains to climbers like Chiappucci and Pantani.
This formula worked for five consecutive years until the competition got the better of 'big Mig' and he eventually finished 11th in 1996. He retired at the end of that year after having a falling out with his team because they tried to force the unmotivated Spaniard to ride the Vuelta a España.