William Fotheringham on Bernard Hinault and French Cycling

Bernard Hinault, known as ‘the Badger, was a man of few words, a hard man, a man of granite a kind of Clint Eastwood on two wheels.

Will Fotheringham, the UK’s leading cycling journalist, has done much to convey the grit required to be be a competitive road cyclist. He was also ghost writer of Bradley Wiggins autobiography ‘My Time’. In a new book he has written about one of cycling’s hardest ever hard men, Hinault.

Bernard Hinault won the Tour de France five times. He is one of only six cyclists to have won all three Grand Tours, and the last French cyclist to win Tour in 1985.

He was an angry young man with a record in cycling second only to Eddie Merckx. In the Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré in 1977 Hinault, in the yellow jersey, was heading for victory. But he crashed in the mountain descent. He climbed up from the roadside, licked his wounds and and got back on his bike, going on to win the race in Grenoble.

Fotheringham’s book ‘Bernard Hinault and the Fall and Rise of French Cycling’ also contemplates the future and the emergence of tough and talented young French riders.

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