Thursday, October 06, 2011

Badger in the Mud

Stripes, claws, mud at the 1981 Queen of the Classics.

Despite abandoning the 1980 Tour due to tendinitis, the press written off Bernard Hinault. Cruel to the Badger, the press only infuriated him to return in August to win the world road race in Sallanches, France.

In 1981, Hinault returned ready to prove to his media naysayers that he can win the big one in the rainbow stripes. The early start was decisive, he won Amstel Gold Race and Criterium International. Then it was time for the big test... Paris-Roubaix.

The Queen of the Classics. This was the way to prove to the media and fans that his world championship title was worthy.

He made it clear that he hated Paris-Roubaix. "I hated it but I had to have a go at it. The big problem is a bad fall. The race itself isn't any more dangerous than other events but an injury could ruin a rider's preparations for the Tours of Italy or France," said Hinault.

The Badger played in that muddy hell of a race, falling a number of times, and contested the final sprint to beat classic tough men;  Moser, De Vlaeminck, Kuiper, Demeyer and Van Calster.

The world champion ruled that day!


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