Indurain resisted comparison to Tour champions of the past and said he "never felt superior to anyone". He "never had airs about himself and only reluctantly stepped into the limelight that came with the maillot jaune", Andy Hood wrote in Procycling.
Indurain was a man difficult to know. He was modest and quiet, "governing his troops without ever being demanding." A Spanish journalist, frustrated that he could find nothing interesting about him, asked "I wonder if his wife knows who this man is who sleeps beside her." A team-mate, Jean-François Bernard said: "When he comes down for his meal, you don't even hear him move his chair."
- humility seems to have spared him from some embarrassing questions that others of his generation haven't been so lucky to avoid. While the likes of Bjarne Riis have been forced to confess to using EPO and other banned drugs, Indurain remains protected by Spain's jealous media. His five straight Tour crowns paralleled Spain's coming of age following decades of repression under the dictatorship of General Franco and his face became a symbol of a new, more assertive Spain stepping confidently on to the European stage.
Philippe Brunel in L'Équipe called him "humble and sublime, taciturn some days. But who was this robotic athlete who, in his streamlined helmet and his Plexiglass visor, dominated the time-trials like no one before him except perhaps Jacques Anquetil?"
The magazine Cycling Weekly wrote: "He seems to do everything very slowly, as though he is trying to conserve energy even here. His eyes blink at half-speed but the gaze from his brown eyes is steady. He looks as relaxed off the bike as he does when he is on it, but you are aware that you are in the presence of a great bike rider."
Indurain said the man who most impressed him was Pope John Paul II, whom he gave a yellow jersey from the Tour de France and a pink jersey from the Giro d'Italia.
Indurain is a member of the Laureus World Sports Academy.
Read more about this topic: Miguel Indurain
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