The 1992 Tour de France was the 79th edition of the Tour de France, taking place from 4 to 26 July. The total race distance was 21 stages and a prologue over 3,978 km (2,472 mi). In honor of the Maastricht Treaty, which created the European Union, the Tour visited a record seven countries: France, Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Luxembourg and Italy.
The 1992 race included one of the most remarkable stages of modern history. Claudio Chiappucci took off before the race left France and soloed to a glorious victory at Sestriere high in the Italian Alps. The tifosi's exuberance was unrestrained by barriers as Chiappucci overtook the motorbike escort which couldn't break through his adoring fans. LeMond abandoned. Miguel Indurain took his second overall win.
There were 22 teams in the 1992 Tour de France, each composed of 9 cyclists. Sixteen teams qualified because they were the top 16 of the FICP ranking in May 1992; six other teams were given wildcards in June 1992.
The teams entering the race were:
Miguel Indurain, winner of the 1991 Tour de France, was the clear favourite, having won the 1992 Giro d'Italia with ease. His biggest rivals were expected to be Gianni Bugno (second in the 1991 Tour) and Claudio Chiappucci (second in the 1992 Giro).
The prologue was in San Sebastián, close to Indurain's home. Indurain won the prologue, with debutant Alex Zülle in second place. In the first stage, Zülle won a time bonus in an intermediate sprint, and became the new race leader.
In the second stage, Richard Virenque, another debutant who was a late addition to his team, was part of a two-man escape that stayed away, and took over the lead. The yellow jersey, worn by the leader in the general classification, changed owner again after the third stage, when a group of ten cyclists stayed away, and Pascal Lino, a team mate of Virenque at RMO–Onet, became the new leader. In the team time trial of stage four, RMO–Onet lost time to the teams specialized in team time trials, but Lino's lead was large enough to remain leader.
In the time trial in stage nine, Indurain took his chance to win back time on Lino and Virenque and his rivals: Indurain won the stage, three minutes faster than all other cyclists. This time trial victory is sometimes seen as Indurain's career-defining moment.
The major mountain stages were stages 13 and 14. Chiappucci won stage 13, and won back some time on Indurain who finished in third place; Chiappucci climbed to the second place in the general classification. In the fourteenth stage, Chiappucci and Indurain finished together. After this stage, Indurain lead the race with only Chiappucci within two minutes; all other cyclists were more than eight minutes behind. With no big mountain stages remaining, the only stage that was likely to create time differences between the favourites was the time trial in stage nineteen. Indurain, being a time trial specialist, won that stage, and increased his margin to more than four minutes.
Indurain thus won his second Tour de France.
There were several classifications in the 1992 Tour de France. The most important was the general classification, calculated by adding each cyclist's finishing times on each stage. The cyclist with the least accumulated time was the race leader, identified by the yellow jersey; the winner of this classification is considered the winner of the Tour.
Additionally, there was a points classification, which awarded a green jersey. In the points classification, cyclists got points for finishing among the best in a stage finish, or in intermediate sprints. The cyclist with the most points lead the classification, and was identified with a green jersey.
There was also a mountains classification. The organisation had categorized some climbs as either hors catégorie, first, second, third, or fourth-category; points for this classification were won by the first cyclists that reached the top of these climbs first, with more points available for the higher-categorized climbs. The cyclist with the most points lead the classification, and was identified with a polkadot jersey.
The fourth individual classification was the young rider classification, which was not marked by a jersey in 1992. This was decided the same way as the general classification, but only riders under 26 years were eligible.
For the team classification, the times of the best three cyclists per team on each stage were added; the leading team was the team with the lowest total time.
In 1992, there was an additional classification because of the Maastricht Treaty, that created the European Union. In the 1992 Tour de France, a national border was crossed seven times, and every time there was a special sprint, where points could be earned. This classification was won by Viatcheslav Ekimov.
The "Association Française pour un Sport sans violence et pour le Fair-play" awarded the Fair Play award in the Tour for the first time. It was given to Stephen Roche.