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  Bernard Hinault    

Hinault at left. Luis Herrera at right.
Picture courtesy of www.bernardhinault.com
Born on November 14, 1954, Bernard Hinaultís achievements as a rider are second only to Eddy Merckx.

Nicknamed ďThe BadgerĒ because of his fighting style when cornered, Hinault was a complete rider like Merckx who could climb, sprint, and time trial with the best.

Hinaultís record of ten Grand Tour victories is second only to Merckx's eleven Grand Tour victories.

Hinault joins Merckx as the only riders to win all of the classifications in the Tour de France (overall, mountains, and points jerseys), although Hinault didnít achieve the feat in a single year like Merckx did.

Hinaultís record of 28 stage victories in the Tour is second to Merckx. He won 7 stages in the 1979 race and 5 stages in the 1981 race.

Hinaultís record of over 250 professional victories, including 52 time trial victories, is impressive. Hinault was also an accomplished one-day rider and won the World Championship Road Race and a total of five victories in cyclingís monuments (he never won the Tour of Flanders or the Milan-San Remo).

In addition to the CyclingHallofFame.com designated races, he also won the then unofficial time trial world championship, the Grand Prix des Nations, five times.

One of the most memorable Hinault victories was at the 1980 Liege-Bastogne-Liege in Belgium. The April race was held in winter conditions which deteriorated during the day. Of 174 starters, only 21 finished. Hinault rode solo for the last 50 miles (80 km) of the 151 mile (244 km) race through a blizzard and won by 9:24.

Hinault was clearly the strongest rider in his victory in the 1980 World Championship Road Race held in Sallanches, France. Hinault devoured everyone from the start in a race where only a handful of riders finished.

Hinaultís record, in the Grand Tours at least, may have indeed been even brighter had it not been for knee problems. Hinault was forced to abandon the Tour in 1980 because of a bad knee and was forced to miss the Tour in 1983 because of a knee operation.

In 1985, Hinault won the Tour de France thanks to the help from Greg Lemond in exchange for Hinaultís promise to ride for Lemond in 1986.

During the 1986 Tour however, Hinault attacked Lemond and wore the yellow jersey as the race leader.

Hinault kept attacking Lemond which made the other riders chase Hinault. Lemond was able to counter attack the other riders and take the yellow jersey himself.

Picture courtesy of www.bernardhinault.com

Roger De Vlaeminck at left. Hinault at right.
Picture courtesy of www.bernardhinault.com
Hinaultís attacks didnít subside until the final time trial was finished and it was obvious that Lemond was going to win.

When questioned about his tactics, Hinaultís response was that Lemond needed to learn how to win through adversity and that this lesson would make Lemond a better champion.

Possibly, but either way it provided much interest and entertainment during the Tour de France that year.

Hinault left cycling at the peak of his career. He retired in November of 1986. His last race was a cyclocross race five days before his 32nd birthday.

Hinault's accomplishments include 5 Tour de France titles, two second place finishes, a Mountains Jersey and a Points Jersey in the race. He won the Giro d'Italia three times, the Vuelta a Espana twice, a 1st, 3rd, and 5th place in the World Championship Road Race, a Paris-Roubaix title, two Liege-Bastogne-Liege victories, and two Tour of Lombardy victories.

He won the Tour de France - Giro d'Italia double in 1982 and 1985. He won the Tour de France - Vuelta a Espana in 1978. He is the only rider who has won all three Grand Tours at least twice.

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