Found here on eBay is a Giro Aerohead aerodynamic helmet, of the type used by Greg LeMond in the time trials – and a very similar colour to his, at that – at the 1989 Tour de France, which the American won by just eight seconds.
Compare a side-on profile of this Giro Aerohead with Laurent Fignon's 1989 ponytail, and the yellow/blonde colour is where the similarity ends. The fact that LeMond plumped for the then-new Scott clip-on 'tri bars' – handlebars that pulled his arms in close to his chest, and a position now used today by most time triallists – and an aero helmet, along with just a rear disc wheel, appeared to make all the difference, while the Frenchman at least made an effort with his similar low-profile bike, double disc wheels and skinsuit.
LeMond's superior time-trialling abilities, coupled with his aerodynamic advantages – and perhaps Fignon's helmet-less head and choice of hairstyle – added up to a 58-second faster ride over the 24.5km course from Versailles to the Champs-Elysées in Paris. It was enough to overhaul the 50-second advantage Fignon held over LeMond going into what was the final stage of that year's race, plus that little extra to give the American the Tour title by just eight seconds.
Fignon had already won the Tour twice before – in 1983 and 1984 – but he'd never wear the yellow jersey again after that hot July day in Paris. LeMond would add the 1990 title the following year, making him a three-time Tour winner, having also won back in 1986.
A hunting accident in 1987, when LeMond was shot by his brother-in-law, might have ended a lesser rider's career, but he returned to the sport first with PDM in 1988 and then the small Belgian ADR team in 1989. After struggling to rediscover his previous abilities, LeMond certainly considered quitting the sport for good that year. But what a time to bounce back to something approaching his best, during what became an out-and-out dual with Fignon at the Tour, with the yellow jersey swapping shoulders on multiple occasions.
As far as we remember, LeMond went helmet-less for the road stages of that year's Tour, although he returned to again win the 1990 Tour equipped with Giro's new Air Attack helmet, which he used for some of that year's road stages.
The Aerohead name has since been recycled – as has been the case with other model names in Giro's range over the years, including the Air Attack – and the Aerohead Ultimate MIPS helmet is now the company's top-of-the-range time-trial and triathlon model.
The big difference between this 1989 Aerohead for sale here and the one LeMond used, of course, is that the American and his team were obliged to chop off some of the tail in order to comply with the UCI regulations of the time. Might he have won the 1989 Tour by a bigger margin if the helmet had remained fully intact? You'd have to ask an aerodynamicist that…
The Netherlands-based seller is looking for €50 (£45 / US$60) for the helmet, which isn't at all bad for this little wind-slice of history – and all the better if you could manage to perhaps get it signed by a certain 1989 Tour de France winner.
We're constantly on the lookout for unique and rare cycling relics on eBay. If you have any suggestions or leads, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org with 'eBay Finds' in the subject line.
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