Slaying the Badger

Bernard Hinault is “Le Blaireau,” the Badger born in Yffiniac, France. Tough and regarded as the second best cyclist of all time behind Eddy Merckx. Hinault is feared for his ferocious attacks. He has won 5 Tours de France, marking his name into the history books as a member of cycling’s most exclusive club.

“As long as I breathe, I attack. I race to win, not to please people.” –Bernard Hinault

As the 1986 Tour de France ascends into the mountains, a boyish and friendly young American named Greg LeMond born in Lakewood, California is racing hard to win his first Tour de France.  The race is tense as winning for Hinault means capping his long cycling career by becoming the first man to win the Tour six times! For LeMond, a win will bring America its first Tour de France victory. So why does their rivalry shock the world?

LeMond and Hinault ride for the same team. Asked by a reporter why he attacked his own teammate, the Badger replies, “Because I felt like it.” and “If he doesn’t buckle, that means he’s a champion and deserves to win the race. I did it for his own good.

lemond_and_hinault

LeMond becomes frustrated as he thought Hinault was going to ride for him and help him win. Through it all, with the help of his American teammate Andy Hampsten, LeMond rides like a champion and becomes the first American to win the Tour de France. His win signals the passing of cycling’s last generation and the birth of a new breed of riders.

In Slaying the Badger, award-winning author Richard Moore traces each story line to its source through innumerable interviews–not only with LeMond and Hinault in their own homes but also with teammates, rivals, race directors, journalists, sponsors, and promoters. Told from these many perspectives, the alliances, tirades, and broken promises divulged in Slaying the Badger build to the stunning climax of the 1986 Tour de France.

Bernard Hinault remains the last French winner of the Tour de France.

Order the book Slaying the Badger

Or if you are not fond of reading order the DVD of Slaying the Badger.

Here is a great book about Bernard Hinault: Memories of the Peloton

Want to learn more about Greg Lemond, read: Yellow Jersey Racer

 

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