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Miguel Indurain accomplished one of the greatest feats in cycling when he became the first man to win the Tour de France five times in succession. At the time the only other cycling greats to win five times were Jacques Anquetil, Eddie Merckx and Bernard Hinault, but none of them managed to post their five wins in a row like Indurain.
Indurain’s extraordinary exploits made him one of Spain’s greatest sportsman and his indomitable strength and the respect he showed both his competitors and fans made him one of the most popular cyclists of all time. His exploits all over the world during the 1990s, a decade during which he won almost every race he entered, have made him one of the great sports icons of the 20th century. His amazing physical condition and the brilliant tactics he employed against his rivals led to a host of titles.
Indurain, who was born in a small village in the Spanish province of Navarre, began cycling in his home region as a member of the ‘Club Ciclista Villavés’. He became a cadet cyclist under the auspices of the Spanish federation in 1978 and, as an amateur, he was Spanish champion in 1983 and competed at the Los Angeles Olympics in 1984. The following year, he turned professional, but had an inauspicious start, dropping out of the Tour de France in 1985 and 1986. However he improved year by year, eventually finishing 10th in 1990.
During the next five years,his domination of the Tour de France would propel him to the position he now occupies in the annals of international cycling, The three-week Tour de France is the premier distance cycling event in the world and after American Greg LeMond's two victories in 1989 and 1990, Indurain made his breakthrough win in 1991 and established himself as the leading cyclist in the word. In 1992 he became only the sixth rider to win the Giro d'Italia and the Tour de France in the same year, a feat he repeated in 1993. In 1994, Indurain set a world hour record of 54.040 km/h and, in 1996 he won the gold medal at the Olympic Games in Atlanta in the individual time trial.
Despite his fame, Indurain said: ""I don't want to change. I like the way I am and I'm satisfied with my life, but I've never felt superior to anyone."" The humility he displayed in the victor's spotlight left an impression with everyone he met.