In 1991, one of the best classics riders and all-rounders in the sport, Rolf Sorensen, achieved every cyclist’s dream: the yellow jersey. But he would depart from the race in the worst way: an injury. On stage one, a break of of eleven cyclists went away, including some heavy hitters like three-time TdF winner, Greg LeMond, time trial specialist Erik Breukink, classics specialist Sean Kelly, and Sørensen.
After the stage, LeMond would put on the yellow jersey as race leader. It was early for him to take the lead, but it didn’t last long. In the afternoon, there was a team time trial and Sørensen’s powerful Ariostea team would win, making Sørensen the new leader of the overall classification.
The Dane was known for a perfect, stretched position on his bike–a Colnago Carbitubo, at the time, and he would keep the yellow jersey for four days, to the delight of his home country of Denmark.
Rolf Sorensen was the first rider from Denmark to win Liege Bastogne Liege in 1993. pic.twitter.com/FPvwZeytwh
— The World of Cycling (@twocGAME) April 22, 2016
But all would change on stage five when he crashed into a traffic island. He would manage to finish the stage, but after the race, doctors discovered he had a broken clavicle. He was rushed by ambulance to a local hospital. Dr. Gerard Nicolet, one of the physicians on the race staff knew then that it didn’t look good. “I can’t see him going on,’ Nicolet said.
Overnight, his physicians did ultimately make the painful decision that he would not be able to start the next day. That meant on stage six, there was a very rare occasion of not having a yellow jersey to begin the day. Him pulling out meant that LeMond would be in the overall, though he would ultimately finish seventh, and mark the beginning of the end of his domination.
If you want to watch the highs and lows of Sørensen’s Tour, you can watch below.