The 1996 Tour de France stage from Chambery to Les Arcs will always be remembered as the day on which Miguel Indurain’s (Banesto) five-year reign at the race finally came to an end.
The moment Indurain cracked came in dramatic fashion, not because the Spaniard was put under immense pressure or because of a barrage of attacks, but simply because it was so unexpected. And when the end came it was mercilessly exploited. Bjarne Riis would have to wait another day to assume yellow, with Evengi Berzin (Gewiss), a former teammate of Riis, becoming the first Russian to wear the maillot jaune.
Riis would take yellow two days later on the shortened stage to Sestrières and embark on a week of racing that traversed all way to the decisive stage 16 to Hautacam.
In the second podcast episode of our retrospective look back at the 1996 Tour de France we hear once again from Riis and his teammate Brian Holm on Telekom’s assault on the race.
The Guardian’s cycling correspondent, and former Procycling editor, William Fotheringham, also shares his vivid experiences of the race, and several other riders, including Gan’s Chris Boardman, sift through their memories of the race as well.
Catch up with episode one here. Episode three will be published later this week and includes an exclusive interview with Riis about his win, his doping past, and his feelings towards his yellow jersey 20 years after winning the race.
Listen to part one of the podcast here.