Andy Hampsten Has High Hopes in the Torturous Tour De France
updated 07/07/1986 AT 01:00 AM EDT
•originally published 07/07/1986 AT 01:00 AM EDT
He earned the nickname "Mountain Goat" training on canyon roads near his home in Boulder, Colo. Raised in Grand Forks, N.Dak., the son of two English professors at the university there, Hampsten started biking at 12 and entered his first competition four years later. He dropped out of college in his sophomore year to train full-time and enter races around the country, working at odd jobs to support himself. His prospects seemed bleak in 1984, when he failed to make the six-man Olympic team, but the disappointment only made him intensify his training. Last year he turned pro and became the first American to win a stage in the Giro D'Italia, finishing ahead of LeMond, 25, whom Hampsten has always looked up to "like a kid thinking about Pete Rose. The win was pretty amazing. Greg was so happy for me, and that meant a lot." Later Hampsten took first place at the World Championship of Climbing, in the mountains of Colombia.
At his home in Yverdon, Switzerland, where he lives about four months of the year, Hampsten prepared for the Tour by tapering off slightly after several months of 700-mile training weeks. "Right now, I'm trying to relax," he says, "and be confident that I've done everything I can."