Monday, January 21, 2013

Bernard Hinault

Bernard Hinault
Bernard Hinault (1954) is a former French professional cyclist. He was nicknamed the badger for his determination and temperament when racing. He raced as a professional from 1974 through 1986. 

Hinault won the Tour de France five times in the years 1978, 1979, 1981, 1982 and 1985. He won the tour the first year he entered in 1978. Every year he finished the Tour de France he either won the race or finished in second place. He finished in second place in the general classification in 1984 and 1986. During the 1980 edition of the tour Hinault had to abandon while wearing the yellow jersey of the race leader due to knee problems. A knee injury also kept him out of the 1983 Tour de France. 

Only three other racers have won the Tour de France five times. They are; Jacques Anqetil, Eddy Merckx and Miguel Indurain. 

The 1978 season was the first year Bernard Hinault raced a grand tour. He raced and won the Vuelta a Espana. Between the Vuelta and the Tour de France he won the French National Road Championship. Then he went on that year to also win the Tour de France.

Hinault not only won the overall general classification of the 1979 Tour de France he also won the points competition or green jersey of the top sprinter. 

Bernard Hinault abandoned the 1980 Tour de France while wearing the yellow jersey of the race leader due to knee problems. But he wasn't without major successes that year. He won the Giro d' Italia, Liege-Bastogne-Liege, the World Road Racing Championships and the Tour de Romandie. The 1980 Liege-Bastogne-Liege was raced from beginning to end in a snow storm. Hinault broke away solo on the snowy roads back to Liege and finished 9minutes 24 seconds ahead of the second place finisher.

Hinault came back to the Tour de France and won in 1981. He spent 18 days in the yellow jersey that year. He also won Paris-Roubaix, Amstel Gold Race, Criterium du Dauphine Libere and the Critierium International.

At the 1982 edition of the Tour de France Bernard Hinault wore the race leader's yellow jersey for twelve days and went on to win overall in the general classification. He also won the Giro d' Italia that year and wore the race leader's jersey for fifteen days during that race.

A knee injury kept Hinault out of the Tour de France in 1983. He did however win the Vuelta a Espana and La Fleche Wallonne that year.

At the 1984 Tour de France Bernard Hinault finished in second place behind his teammate and fellow Frenchman Laurent Fignon.

Hinault won both the Tour de France and the Giro d' Italia in 1985. This was his fifth and final Tour de France victory. 

The 1986 Tour de France was a race of controversy for Bernard Hinault and his teammate Greg Lemond. Lemond had helped Hinault to achieve his fifth Tour de France victory during 1985. Hinault had promised to help Lemond win the 1986 edition. There is much argument over Hinault's aggressive riding that year. Some say he was going all out after the victory. He says he was just trying to wear down Lemond's competition. Lemond won the 1986 Tour de France and Bernard Hinault finished in second place. Hinault won the King of The Mountains competition at the 1986 Tour de France. He traveled to the United States that year and won the Coors Classic stage race in Colorado.

After the 1986 season Bernard Hinault retired from professional bicycle racing and returned to the Brittany section of France and went back to farming. He also worked for the Look company as a technical advisor and helped to develop the Look clipless pedal system. 
Bernard Hinault attacking during a race in 1976 at the age of 22
Bernard Hinault leading up the Tourmalet during the 1979 Tour de France.
Bernard Hinault at the 1979 Tour of Lombardi .
Bernard Hinaut wearing the Yellow Jersey during the 1979 Tour de France
Bernard Hinault during the 1980 edition of  Liege-Bastogne-Liege.
He crossed the finish line solo.
Bernard Hinault racing Paris-Roubaix in 1981.
He won the race in 1981 while wearing the rainbow jersey of the world champion.
Bernard Hinault left and Laurent Fignon on the right.
Notice that the road they are racing on is not paved.
Bernard Hinault during the 1983 Veulta a Espana
Bernard Hinault riding aggressively during the 1985 Tour de France
Bernard Hinault Time Trialing during the 1985 Tour de France
Bernard Hinault wearing the "King Of The Mountains" jersey during the 1986 Tour de France.

Below is almost two hours of coverage of the 1985 Tour de France. Much has changed since this edition of the race; the roads of France are different, the crowds of spectators, the bicycles, the riders themselves, the race coverage and most of all the quality of videos. I like the types of country roads that used to be around, not only in France but also in this country, to ride on. Things change and time waits for no one!

Below is The Rolling Stones video "Time waits for no one".
The amazing guitar playing on this song is that of Mick Taylor. He was called upon as a session musician by The Rolling Stones in 1969, at the age of 20 years old, after they ousted original band member Brian Jones. Brian Jones was found drowned in his own swimming pool a few months later. The coroner ruled Jones cause of death as "death by misadventure". The Rolling Stones was impressed with Mich Taylor's playing and he continued to record and perform with them through 1973.

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