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1987: Cyclist Greg Lemond shot in hunting accident

The greatest cycle race in history
Matt Majendie
Last Updated: July 25. 2009 12:26AM
UAE / July 24. 2009 8:26PM GMT

Greg Lemond rides down the Champs Elysees, with the Arc de Triomphe in the background on his way to win the last stage of the 1989 Tour de France.
Lionel Cironneau / AP Photo

The National looks back at how Greg Lemond defied all logic to win the Tour de France just two years after he nearly died from gunshot wounds

Greg Lemond still walks around with 37 lead pellets scattered around his body, two of which are embedded in the lining of his heart.

Monday April 20 1987 started as a fairly regular day for the defending Tour de France champion as he headed out for a day's hunting with his uncle and brother-in-law near his home in California.

His brother-in-law mistook the camouflaged Lemond for a turkey as he appeared from behind a hedge and shot him from just 30 yards, resulting in nearly 50 shotgun pellets ripping through his body, lodging in his heart lining, small intestine, liver, diaphragm, back and legs.

Doctors later told Lemond he was just 15 minutes away from bleeding to death and his life was only saved by having a mobile phone, the fact a police helicopter was in the vicinity and a nearby hospital which specialised in gunshot wounds.

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