Cyclists to Know----Bernard Hinault

Posted by tan xiao yan on

Bernard Hinault was a French professional cyclist who is counted one of the best cyclists of all times.Hinault was nicknamed Le Blaireau, which means badger, because he would often wear a hairband.He was born on 14 November 1954 in France and started his career in 1974.Image result for Bernard hinault

At the age of 19, Bernard Hinault joined the Gitane team and he scored an early victory in Paris-Camembert in 1976.To prepare for the Tour de France, Hinault rode his first grand tour, the Vuelta a Espana and won it.He also won the national championship before the Tour, which allowed him to wear the tricolor.In 1978, he won the Tour de France and on his first debut, demonstrating his talent by beating other famous cyclists and then he was hailed as the next French great cyclist and won the Tour again in 1979.
Aiming at the Triple Crown, Hinault missed the 1980 Tour de France due to his knee injury but won the Giro and the championship in 1980. The next year, 1981, he won Paris -Roubaix and returned to victory in the Tour and then won it again in 1982. In 1983, he missed the Tour due to his knee problems again.In 1984, he lost the Tour de France to Fignon. With the help of coach Paul Koechli, he returned to the Tour victory in 1985.Image result for Bernard hinaultIn 1986, Hinault retired and returned to farming in Brittany and started worked for the Tour de France organization.

Riding style
Hinault was a "boss of the peloton" or Patron.He imposed strict discipline and often cooperation among riders, once he famously decreed that "there will be no attacks today because tomorrow's stage will be difficult". He was respected by riders but feared by many for his short temper. If he felt slighted by another rider he would humiliate the offender. To the public, Hinault was often arrogant, shy and remote of publicity. When he was advised to devote more attention, Hinault replied, "I race to win, not to please people".

Prizes and Praises
In his 12-year career, Hinault gained more than 200 victories and won the Tour de France five times (in 1978,1979,1981,1982 and 1985), the Giro d’Italia three times (in 1980,1982 and 1985) and Vuelta a Espana twice (in 1978 and 1983).He also won Classics including Paris–Roubaix (1981) and Liège–Bastogne–Liège (1977, 1980). His victory in the 1980 Liège–Bastogne–Liège is memorable because of the heavy snow storm from the start. Hinault made a solo attack and crossed the finish line nearly 10 minutes ahead of his next rival.

Bernard Hinault
There are only two cyclists who won all the three Grand Tours each more than once, and he is one of them, the other one is Alberto Contador.
Hinault almost dominated all the races of his time(the 1980s), and there are a lot of comments on him.And here are some comments I quoted:
“Let’s say he gave the race its identity. He was the one who made the difference, who made the race hard, who eliminated all his rivals. There was no contest”
“For seven or eight years, he was the strongest rider in the peloton. He didn’t do every race full throttle, but on the days he wanted to win, the days when he was well trained and totally motivated, there was no one who could beat Bernard Hinault.”
From those comments, it is not hard to find how great Hinault is to be a cyclist.

Known as La Doyenne(the Old Lady), Liege-Bastogne-Liege is one of pro-cycling’s five monuments.And it is the oldest surviving classic which takes place in Spring each year and it is a transition from the cobbled climbs of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix to the longer hills of the Belgian Ardennes.On April 20, 1980, the 66th edition of La Doyenne, 174 riders came to Liege. The weather is terrible with raging snow storm, and the media called it the worst Ardennes weather in the history. After one hour of racing, more than half of the 174 starters had abandoned the race. It was merely survival for the remaining riders as the race passed through Bastogne and turned back towards Liege.When Rudy Pevenage and Ludo Peeters broke away from the frigid and shattering peloton and gained a 2'15’ lead over the famed Stockeu climb, as a front runner, Bernard Hinault began to increase the pace on the Stockeu and broke clear with Silvano Contini and Henk Lubberding. After a 20 km chase, the Hinault group finally caught the leaders when they were on the Haute Levee climb. Even though the road to Liege(80 km) was covered with snow, Hinault rode straight through the leaders to plow a lonely path to the finish.The biting cold and pelting snow increased not only the pain but also the difficulty on the roads back to Liege.Hinault's face was stinging from the snow but he still steadily increased his advantage on the peloton.He dismissed thoughts of abandoning while in the lead. Driven by immense pride, Hinault ignored the pain and flew towards Liege.
Across the finish line, almost frostbitten, Hinault claimed his victory,9’24’ ahead of his next rival.

Being one of the greatest cyclists, Hinault is surely a person to remember for his achievements and his strong will that has been affecting thousands of people.