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That time the defending Tour de France champ was 2 minutes late to the prologue

Pedro Delgado had the worst possible start to the 1989 TdF

Photo by: David Guénel @davidguenel

The prologue in 1989 was a disaster for Spanish rider, Pedro Delgado. Delgado finished the first day of the race, a 7.8 km time trial in Luxembourg, 2’54” down on the winner, Dutchman Erik Breukink. Laurent Fignon, who would ultimately finish second by just eight seconds, was second, with Greg LeMond slotting in at fourth. Canada’s Steve Bauer had a super ride as well, coming in fifth. Delgado would finish in dead last, and would win the infamous honour of being the first (and probably the last) defending champion to do so. Delgado was riding for the Reynolds team, which is now known as Movistar.

Delgado was considered a huge favourite to repeat in 1989, and the sight of him running up the stairs of the start house to jump on his bike as officials panicked, was surreal. Delgado, a.k.a “Perico” signed into the race with 20 minutes to spare, and headed off to complete his warm-up. When he was out doing some openers, he somehow lost track of time. Race officials were bewildered and fans were panicking.

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Finally, the Spanish rider showed up., two minutes and 40 seconds late for his start.
As the race progressed however, Delgado would take some big chances in stages, since he was no longer a favourite and claw back some time.

Ultimately, Perico would finish on the podium in third position, 3’34” behind LeMond.

Check out this video of the frantic start for him at the ‘89 Tour.