Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Mad Props Vol. 5

I always liked Bernard Hinault. I was captivated by his dominance and grit and the way he would rule the peloton with his iron will and temperament. Hinault was an anomaly. Hinault was a dick. Hinault was a monstrous ball of testosterone and napalm. He was never afraid to attack, sometimes to his detriment. He possessed a recklessness and confidence I admire in riders. He was both human and superhuman throughout his career.

Hinault was also brash, arrogant, distant, and terribly shy of publicity. He was an eccentric mix of prima donna, petulent schoolboy, and lone wolf. He would control races from his position as "Le Patron", or boss of the peloton, and impose his will upon riders. Such as when Hinault famously said "there will be no attacks today because tomorrow's stage will be difficult". That was Hinault, the last of Le Patrons.

I never jumped on the bandwagon of demonizing Hinault the way many did when he had his famous battle with Greg Lemond in the 1986 Tour de France. If you understood Hinault, that episode should have been expected. Hinault was a fighter. Always.


esthetecyclist said...

You have to love Hinault. He growled at other riders.

Guy WR said...

Good call on Le Blaireau! I always liked the story about when he got off his bike and started fighting with the road-side protesters during a TdF stage (79-80-81?). A real character and perhaps the last of the truly great champions.