Slaying the Badger (Greg Le Mond - Bernard Hinault)



steve

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Aug 12, 2001
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A detailed and highly revealing tale of cycling’s most extraordinary rivalry and the greatest ever Tour de France.

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I got a chance to watch the video on Saturday, while relegated to the trainer by bad weather. I thought that it was interesting. It clearly reflects LeMond's point of view, but it was made for an American audience. The interview with Hinault was fascinating. He was obviously enjoying the cat and mouse game of plausible deniability with the reporter. You could see it in his eyes. Koechli was being a typical double-minded Swiss. My sense was that his thinking may have been that LeMond would answer Hinault's attacks right away, and they would work together to break Zimmerman, and possibly give Hampsten a chance to sneak onto the podium for a La Vie Claire sweep. His primary loyalty seemed to be with LVC. Telling Hampsten that he was free to go for the win seemed to reflect that.

Other riders of the time echoed Koechli's criticism of LeMond for not attacking, and only responding to attacks. Fignon made the same criticisms in his autobiography. And in any event, Hinault probably knew of no other way to race, but to attack. Maybe in his heart of hearts he really believes his standard line that they were designed to "help" LeMond win. Although, when you find yourself in better shape than you expected to be in, and are in a position to pass Anquetil and Eddy on the all time list, you have to think that he was trying to win despite what he promised the year before.
 
Thanks for posting this.

I've read the book Slaying the Badger and it was a very good read.

I look forward to looking at that video. Thanks for posting the link.
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I don't want to do any spoilers, but the most telling quote from Hinault in the video is this: "I promised Greg that I would help him win. I never promised that I would make it easy for him to win." :big-smile:
 
Originally Posted by mpre53

I don't want to do any spoilers, but the most telling quote from Hinault in the video is this: "I promised Greg that I would help him win. I never promised that I would make it easy for him to win."
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That Tour was LeMonds to lose...
... and he wasn't too far from doing just that. His "woe is me, everyone is out to get me" attitude really did suck. I recall in an interview that Hinault said he attacked on the first mountain stage in Pau because LeMond didn't. LeMond followed wheels on the second day in the hills and, IMHO, he was lucky that Herrera punctured on the final climb just before Hampsten jumped.

If Hinault hadn't have got tendonitis on the first stage in the Alps then the outcome could have been different. Hinaults' descent off the Izoard after having the mechanic drop his saddle slightly at 50mph was absolutely insane. It was a pity that by then the damage was done and the Tour was decided when LeMond sat on Zimmermans wheel all the way up the Grannon.

Shame the Col du Grannon hasn't been used since. An absolute beast of a climb. Far harder than Alpe d'Huez, the south side of the Galibier and the Izoard. A road to nowhere, fitting really as that's where most dreams went during that Tour stage.
 
Originally Posted by swampy1970
Shame the Col du Grannon hasn't been used since. An absolute beast of a climb. Far harder than Alpe d'Huez, the south side of the Galibier and the Izoard. A road to nowhere, fitting really as that's where most dreams went during that Tour stage.
I agree with this. It is a pity we don't see climbs such as these featured a bit more. It deserves to feature in more tours.

Col De L'Iseran too.
 
I miss the epic monster stages in the mountains. the 5 to 7 hour jaunts that'd kill all but the strongest. The stage up the Grannon in 86 was 6 hours of fun for LeMond.

The Izoard still features every once in a while but an old Tour favorite, the Col de Vars is rarely used anymore. The Puy de Dome in the Massif Central is another old favorite that was used a lot and has seen many a great stage but isn't used.

As much as it's great to see the guys climbing 8% slopes at 12+ mph on the shorter days, after a few monster days in the mountains there'd be less people close to the yellow jersey on GC.
 
Some dopey ***** put a railway track up the Puy de Dome. Its only a single lane road now, can't be used for the Tour. The Tour probably outgrew the climb anyway due to increases in crowd size. I think 88 was the last time they used it.
 

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