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LeMond leading Laurent Fignon over the Col De La Croix Fer in the 1989 Tour de France. He won the race on the final day's time trial, famously winning the 3-week event by 8 seconds; (photo/Steve Selwood via Wiki Commons)

Only American Tour de France Winner Greg LeMond Reveals Cancer Diagnosis

The only American in history to win the Tour de France announced the diagnosis via his website on Thursday, June 2, 2022. ‘Fortunately,’ LeMond said, his prognosis is ‘very favorable.’

In the late 1980s, few cyclists anywhere could touch Greg LeMond. Now, the retired pro cyclist announces he’ll battle cancer.

Weeks of fatigue prompted the 60-year-old to go in for a checkup in late May, he said via a statement on his website. On Friday, May 27, doctors delivered him his formal diagnosis.

“Fortunately, it is a type of cancer that is treatable, and it is a type of leukemia that is not life-threatening or debilitating,” LeMond wrote.

The statement said the chronic myelogenous leukemia diagnosis stemmed from blood work and a bone marrow biopsy. It did not specify further details of the cyclist’s illness.

LeMond Undergoes Treatment, Mayo Clinic Consults

“No one ever wants to hear the word cancer, but, admittedly, there is great relief, now, to know why I was feeling poorly,” the three-time Tour de France winner continued.

“My doctors at the University of Tennessee, with consultation from a team at the Mayo Clinic, have outlined a chemotherapy protocol which will begin this week.

“I should be feeling better in a few weeks, and for the near future, my daily schedule will be altered only a little, and I have been told that in a few months, I should be in remission. The long-term prognosis is very favorable.”

LeMond captured his first Tour de France yellow jersey in 1986. After that, he won it 2 years straight in 1989 and ’90. He also wore the rainbow jersey twice, as the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) World Champion in 1983 and 1989.

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LeMond starts the final stage of the 1989 Tour de France; (photo/Benjamin Werner via Wiki Commons)

Since the UCI stripped Lance Armstrong and Floyd Landis of their eight combined Tour de France titles, LeMond stands as the only American to ever officially win the race.

LeMond retired from professional riding in 1994. He then leaned into a second career as an anti-doping advocate and media pundit at the Tour de France. His bike brand continues to grow, and in 2019, the 116th U.S. Congress awarded him the Congressional Gold Medal. Other notable athletes to win the award include Jesse Owens and Jackie Robinson.

Tour Champ Expresses Optimism

In the statement, the cyclist outlines his plans with confidence and inspiration and promises to update his fans along the way.

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LeMond in 2015; (photo/Soloyan via Wiki Commons)

“I will continue to participate in and support [LeMond Bicycles’] plans for the summer months ahead. I had hoped to be in France in July for the Tour, but we are, now, working on an alternate plan so I can follow the tour and engage with friends and teammates from our offices and farm in Tennessee,” he wrote.

LeMond added that he looks forward to returning to the Tour de France next summer. Meanwhile, he promised, “I will keep everyone updated about my health and treatments in the months ahead but for now, I believe I couldn’t be in better hands. I am excited about our plans ahead, and I look forward to updating you all along the way.”

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Sam Anderson
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Sam Anderson is a staff writer at GearJunkie, and several other All Gear websites.

He has been writing about climbing, cycling, running, wildlife, outdoor policy, the outdoor industry, vehicles, and more for 2 years. Prior to GearJunkie, he owned and operated his own business before freelancing at GearHungry. Based in Austin, Texas, Anderson loves to climb, boulder, road bike, trail run, and frequent local watering holes (of both varieties).