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LeMond Inducted Into Cycling Hall of Fame

June 8, 1996 GMT

TREXLERTOWN, Pa. (AP) _ Greg LeMond didn’t really want to be at the U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Saturday.

LeMond, the only American ever to win the Tour de France, confided after the celebration that he regrets retiring two years ago, especially with the Olympics open to professional riders for the first time this year.

LeMond was forced to retire after contracting the rare muscular disease mitochondria myopathy, which doesn’t affect his daily routine but sapped his ability to perform at high levels.

``That’s the only reason I retired,″ said LeMond, who is approaching his 35th birthday. ``There’s no reason, if I was 100 percent, that I couldn’t compete in these Olympics.

``But, regardless, your career has to come to an end some day. So it’s always going to be a bittersweet moment.″

LeMond, who won the Tour de France _ the Super Bowl of cycling _ in 1986, ’89 and ‘90, said his career highlight was winning the race in ’89 after a near fatal hunting accident.

He said his biggest regret was never racing for his country at the Olympics.

``I wish they would have opened it up to the professionals in ’88 or ’84,″ said LeMond, who was on the 1980 squad that boycotted the Moscow Olympics. ``Those were my best years.″

LeMond, who operates his signature line of bicycles and is a partner in a chain of bagel stores, said he still cycles a little bit to stay fit.

``I hope that I race for fun again,″ he said. ``My goal is to race in a couple of years, get in shape for two or three criteriums, where you don’t have to go up a hill. I can’t say when I’ll race. It might be when I’m 50.

``But I can’t imagine never racing again.″

Eddie Borysewicz, who coached LeMond and is considered the architect of the national coaching program, was also inducted Saturday.

Other inductees were:

_Leonard Harvey Nitz, one of the best track riders of the modern era, a four-time Olympian who won the silver in the team pursuit and the bronze in the individual pursuit in 1984.

_Norman Hill, 90, of Elk Grove, Ill., who turned professional in 1924 when cycling was in its heyday as a major U.S. sport and won several of the bygone six-day races.

_Marcus Hurley, the world champion sprint title winner in 1904.

_And John ``Pop″ Brennan, who opened up a bike shop at the turn of the century after a short professional career and made custom handlebars and wheels for some of the era’s great riders.