132 Facts About Bernard Hinault


Bernard Hinault abandoned one of them while in the lead, finished in 2nd place on two occasions and won the other ten, putting him one behind Merckx for the all time record.

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Bernard Hinault started cycling as an amateur in his native Brittany.

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Bernard Hinault took breakthrough victories at both the Liege–Bastogne–Liege classic and the Criterium du Dauphine Libere stage race in 1977.

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Bernard Hinault added another Tour victory in 1981, before completing his first Giro-Tour double in 1982.

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Bernard Hinault recovered the following year, winning another Giro-Tour double with the help of teammate Greg LeMond.

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All through his career, Bernard Hinault was known by the nickname Le Blaireau ; he associated himself with the animal due to its aggressive nature, a trait he embodied on the bike.

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Bernard Hinault was born on 14 November 1954 in the Breton village of Yffiniac, the second oldest of four children to Joseph and Lucie Bernard Hinault.

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Bernard Hinault's parents were farmers, and the children often had to help out at harvest time.

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Bernard Hinault was described as a "hyperactive" child, with his mother nicknaming him "little hooligan".

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Bernard Hinault was not a good student, but visited the technical college in Saint-Brieuc for an engineering apprenticeship.

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Bernard Hinault started athletics there, becoming a runner and finishing tenth in the French junior cross-country championship in 1971.

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In December 1974, just before turning professional, Bernard Hinault married Martine, who he had met at a family wedding the year before.

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Bernard Hinault and his family lived in Quessoy, close to Yffiniac, while he was a professional cyclist.

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Bernard Hinault came to cycling through his cousin Rene, who rode weekend races.

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Bernard Hinault received his own bike when he was 15 as a reward for passing his school examinations, and used it to travel to college.

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Bernard Hinault received his racing licence from Club Olympique Briochin in late April1971 and entered his first race on 2May in Planguenoual.

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Bernard Hinault won his first five races, amassing twelve wins from twenty races by the end of the year.

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Also during the summer of 1971, Bernard Hinault was at odds with his father about his choice to pursue cycling as a career.

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Joseph Bernard Hinault relented only after his son ran away from home for three days to stay with his cousins, sleeping on straw in the barn.

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The young Bernard Hinault was heavily influenced by his trainer at the Club Olympique Briochin, Robert Le Roux, who had earlier worked with 1965 World Champion Tom Simpson.

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Bernard Hinault was conscripted into the military at age 18, and did not race throughout 1973.

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Bernard Hinault was unable to join the army's training centre for young athletes and instead served in Sissonne with the 21st Marine Infantry Regiment.

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Bernard Hinault competed in track cycling, winning the national pursuit championship.

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Bernard Hinault finished fifth overall, and second on the time trial stage behind reigning pursuit world champion Roy Schuiten.

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Towards the end of the season, Bernard Hinault turned down an offer to race with the prestigious Athletic Club de Boulogne-Billancourt, instead deciding to turn professional in 1975.

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The decision to turn professional relatively early was in part taken as, had Bernard Hinault raced the 1975 season as an amateur, he would have likely been prevented by the French cycling federation from turning professional before the 1976 Summer Olympics to be part of the French team there.

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Bernard Hinault won all the intermediate cash prizes until five-time Tour de France winner Eddy Merckx declared that Bernard Hinault was included in the pact.

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However, Bernard Hinault showed little willingness to learn the basic trades of cycling from Stablinski, often escaping early in the race instead of learning how to ride inside the peloton.

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Guimard and Bernard Hinault got along well, and the latter was kept out of the high-profile races for 1976, instead focussing on a steady improvement in lesser known races such as Paris–Camembert, which he won.

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Bernard Hinault's progress was visible, with a second consecutive victory at the Circuit de la Sarthe, a third place at the Grand Prix du Midi Libre and a win at the Tour de l'Aude, ensuring him the Prestige Pernod, the award for the best French rider of the season.

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Five days later, at Liege–Bastogne–Liege, Bernard Hinault followed an attack by favourite Andre Dierickx, and beat him in the two-man sprint to take his first victory in one of cycling's "monuments".

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Bernard Hinault did however start the Criterium du Dauphine Libere, seen as the most important preparation event for the Tour.

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Bernard Hinault then climbed back onto the road, took a new bike and without showing any hesitation, continued on.

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Bernard Hinault had gone into that ravine a rider, but came out a vedette, and the entire operation lasted no longer than fifteen seconds.

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Bernard Hinault then competed in the Criterium National de la Route.

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Bernard Hinault won the opening prologue time trial in Gijon, but then let the leadership switch to Ferdi Van Den Haute.

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Bernard Hinault won stage 11b, a mountain time trial in Barcelona, and regained the race lead the next day, when he won the stage to La Tossa de Montbui after an escape with teammate Jean-Rene Bernaudeau.

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Bernard Hinault ensured his overall victory by winning stage 18 to Amurrio.

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Bernard Hinault claimed to have been annoyed into attacking by one of Gandarias's teammates and offered to carry him to the finish.

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Bernard Hinault himself had sand thrown into his eyes, but won the stage nonetheless, only to find that the results would not count due to the surrounding circumstances.

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Ahead of his first Tour de France, Bernard Hinault raced in the Tour de Suisse, where he did not feature prominently.

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Bernard Hinault then travelled to the French Road Race Championship, held at Sarrebourg.

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Bernard Hinault's victory allowed him to wear the French tricolore jersey for the following year.

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Bernard Hinault took all the responsibility, stood in the front line, was spat at by the crowd.

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On stage 8, the first longer individual time trial, Bernard Hinault gained back 59 seconds on Zoetemelk, while the previous two Tour winners, Van Impe and Thevenet, lost so much time that they were now counted out from chances of an overall win.

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Bernard Hinault rode conservatively in the Pyrenees to stay within striking distance of Zoetemelk.

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Bernard Hinault was chosen by his fellow competitors to be the spokesperson of the strike.

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Bernard Hinault countered the next day en route to Saint-Etienne during stage 15, breaking away with Hennie Kuiper.

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Bernard Hinault then clinched the yellow jersey in the final time trial, gaining more than four minutes to win his first Tour de France with an advantage of 3:56 minutes.

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Bernard Hinault then beat Zoetemelk to victory at the Dauphine Libere, winning four stages.

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Bernard Hinault won the race by over ten minutes, taking the points and mountain classifications.

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The mountain stages started immediately thereafter, with Bernard Hinault winning the mountain time trial on stage 2, taking over the yellow jersey.

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The next day however, on a stage containing cobbled sections, Bernard Hinault suffered two punctures, losing almost four minutes and the race lead to Zoetemelk.

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Bernard Hinault took back 36 seconds on the time trial in Brussels on stage 11 before regaining the race lead after another time trial, uphill to Avoriaz on stage 15.

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Bernard Hinault gained another minute on stage 16, before Zoetemelk regained 47 seconds up Alpe d'Huez three days later.

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Bernard Hinault took the next stage in a slightly uphill sprint finish.

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Towards the end of the season, Bernard Hinault won his second cycling monument, the Giro di Lombardia.

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The victory secured that Bernard Hinault won his first of four consecutive Super Prestige Pernod International competitions, the award handed to the best rider of the season.

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Bernard Hinault then entered Paris–Roubaix, partly to prepare for the cobbled sections in the upcoming Tour de France, and finished fourth.

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Bernard Hinault wanted to abandon, as had many others, including all but one of his teammates.

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Bernard Hinault was convinced to carry on until the feeding station at Bastogne, where the snow had turned into rain.

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Bernard Hinault removed his rain cape and attacked, catching up to the leaders and carried on by himself, winning with a margin of almost ten minutes ahead of Kuiper.

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Bernard Hinault started the Giro d'Italia as odds-on favourite, pitted against local riders Francesco Moser and Giuseppe Saronni, who had the home crowd on their side.

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Bernard Hinault then relinquished his lead to Roberto Visentini, who was not considered to be a contender for the final victory.

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Bernard Hinault then made the decisive move of the race on stage 20, when he attacked on the tough climb of the Stelvio Pass.

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Bernard Hinault won the prologue in Frankfurt, Germany, five seconds ahead of Gerrie Knetemann.

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Bernard Hinault eventually found himself in a group with several other riders, while Zoetemelk was distanced.

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Bernard Hinault had however suffered damage to his left knee on the stage to Lille.

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Bernard Hinault finished only fifth on stage 11's individual time trial, won by Zoetemelk.

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Bernard Hinault left the race at night, not informing the press, which led to a fallout with the media that took years to recover.

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Bernard Hinault returned from the disappointment of the Tour to start at the World Championship road race, held on a very tough parcours in Sallanches, France, often named the hardest course in the history of the event.

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Bernard Hinault had never made his dislike for riding on cobbled roads a secret.

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Bernard Hinault suffered seven crashes and tyre punctures, but reached the finish at the velodrome with the lead group, where he outsprinted favourites Roger De Vlaeminck and Moser.

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At the Tour de France, Bernard Hinault took an early lead by winning the prologue, then relinquished the yellow jersey to Knetemann and later to Phil Anderson.

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Bernard Hinault won five stages, including all four individual time trials.

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Bernard Hinault looked set for victory after the first two weeks, having taken a significant lead after wins in the stage3 time trial and stage 12 to Campitello Matese.

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Bernard Hinault hit back the next day, winning the stage to Montecampione, turning the race in his favour.

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In "his most uneventful Tour", Bernard Hinault never looked in trouble on his way to completing the Giro-Tour double at the Tour de France.

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Bernard Hinault won the prologue in Basel, Switzerland, before the lead briefly turned to Ludo Peeters and Phil Anderson.

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Bernard Hinault regained the yellow jersey after the first time trial and won the overall classification easily.

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Bernard Hinault took four stages, including again the final one on the Champs-Elysees, this time from a bunch sprint.

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Later in the season, Bernard Hinault added another victory at the Grand Prix des Nations.

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Since 1981, Bernard Hinault had been joined at Renault by two young talents, Laurent Fignon and the American Greg LeMond.

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Bernard Hinault came back and took the lead the following day on the mountain stage to Castellar de n'Hug.

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Bernard Hinault joined forces with Kuiper and Saronni to attack on stage 10 to Soria, affected by crosswinds.

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Bernard Hinault was in trouble again on stage 14, affected by returning pain in his knee; at one point he trailed his rivals by more than five minutes, but regained contact.

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Bernard Hinault tried another comeback at a post-Tour criterium, but the pain returned and he did not race for the remainder of the season.

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Bernard Hinault forced a choice on the Renault team to either release him or oust Guimard.

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Bernard Hinault joined forces with businessman Bernard Tapie to form the new La Vie Claire squad.

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Bernard Hinault returned to racing at the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana, where he won the final stage.

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Bernard Hinault won the prologue, but Renault took the team time trial, 55 seconds ahead of La Vie Claire.

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Bernard Hinault lost another 49 seconds to Fignon in the first long individual time trial, a discipline he had previously dominated.

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Bernard Hinault attacked on the Rampe de Laffrey, but Fignon was able to respond.

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Bernard Hinault ultimately finished the Tour in second place, a significant ten minutes behind Fignon.

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Bernard Hinault managed to bounce back from his Tour defeat in the fall.

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Bernard Hinault won his third Giro with a margin of just over a minute.

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Bernard Hinault took victory in the prologue in his native Brittany.

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Bernard Hinault supported him over the next days, even going so far as dropping back when Andersen punctured to lead him back into the peloton, showing his loyalty to riders who would later have to assist him.

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On stage 8, a time trial to Strasbourg, Bernard Hinault took back the race lead, winning the stage by more than two minutes ahead of Stephen Roche.

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Bernard Hinault eventually finished the stage just over a minute behind LeMond.

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In January 1986, Bernard Hinault was given the Legion of Honour by French president Francois Mitterrand.

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Bernard Hinault had, already in 1982, announced that he would retire from cycling on his 32nd birthday, in November 1986.

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Bernard Hinault finished third in the prologue, two seconds ahead of LeMond and Fignon.

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Bernard Hinault then won the time trial on stage 9, gaining an additional 44 seconds on LeMond, who suffered a broken wheel and had to change his bike.

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Bernard Hinault was now in the lead of the general classification, 5:25 minutes ahead of LeMond.

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Bernard Hinault then cracked, coming in ninth, 4:39 minutes behind stage winner LeMond.

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Bernard Hinault now led his teammate by only forty seconds in the general classification.

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On stage 17, Bernard Hinault got left behind on the Col d'Izoard and lost the yellow jersey to LeMond, falling to third in the overall rankings, 2:47 minutes behind his teammate.

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Bernard Hinault attacked repeatedly, but reached the bottom of Alpe d'Huez with LeMond.

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Bernard Hinault ended his final Tour de France second overall, 3:10 minutes behind LeMond.

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Bernard Hinault won the mountains classification and was given the super-combativity award.

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Bernard Hinault rode the World Championships Road Race, held in Colorado Springs.

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Bernard Hinault aimed to win, showing a lot of effort in his preparation.

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Bernard Hinault held several positions, including race regulator and route advisor.

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Bernard Hinault stepped down from the role after the 2016 Tour de France.

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Unlike many of his competitors, Bernard Hinault never became a directeur sportif after his cycling career.

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Bernard Hinault was the selector of the French national team from 1988 to 1993.

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Bernard Hinault took a role as "patron" with the British Team Raleigh squad for the 2014 season.

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In June 2020, Bernard Hinault became part of a group of businessmen investing into saving the cycling equipment company Mavic, who are a long-time sponsor of the Tour de France.

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Bernard Hinault's riding style has been described as "fighting, full of aggression", and he stated that when he did not feel good in a race, his reaction would be to attack.

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Bernard Hinault urged the riders to protest and ride slowly, but some did not follow his example, forcing Hinault to chase them down before he eventually left the race.

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Fotheringham suggests that Bernard Hinault only regained popularity with the French public after his knee problems and his Tour defeat in 1984.

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Fellow racer Robert Millar suggested that in 1986 in particular, Bernard Hinault attempted to win over the French public by riding aggressively.

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Bernard Hinault was not known to particularly enjoy going on training rides, unless he was specifically preparing for an event.

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Bernard Hinault was a member of the jury and his vote turned out to be decisive as he narrowly defeated Anquetil.

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Bernard Hinault was nicknamed le blaireau in French, a term that can be translated into English as either "the shaving brush" or "the badger".

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However, Bernard Hinault later embraced the association with the wild animal.

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Bernard Hinault never tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs during his professional career and was never implicated in any doping practices.

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Bernard Hinault did lead a riders' protest during a criterium race in Callac in 1982 against the sudden introduction of doping controls.

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Bernard Hinault has been outspoken about several prominent doping cases in the past years.

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In early 2018, Bernard Hinault spoke out about the adverse analytical result for salbutamol of four-time Tour winner Chris Froome at the 2017 Vuelta a Espana.

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Bernard Hinault criticised Froome for taking part in the 2018 Giro d'Italia while the investigation was still ongoing.

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