Hinault: French senators "want to kill the Tour de France"

"Let them put the same constraints on all sports as they do on cyclists and they can open their mouths", says five-time winner

by Dave Atkinson   June 27, 2013  

Bernard Hinault 2011 TDF launch

Five-time maillot jaune Bernard Hinault has accused the French Senate of wanting to “kill the Tour de France” with “their bullshit” as cycling prepares to brace itself for another wave of doping allegations.

The 58-year-old was reacting in a television interview to the Senate’s forthcoming report into doping, due to be published on 18 July, the same day the 100th Tour de France tackles a double ascent of the Alpe d’Huez.

L’Equipe has already claimed that Laurent Jalabert, who testified before the Senate’s commission earlier this year, will be named in the report as having provided a urine sample during the 1998 Tour which, when tested anonymously six years later, provided a positive result for EPO.

Jalabert, who had denied under oath to knowingly taking performance enhancing drugs, had been due to cover this year’s Tour as a pundit for French TV, but has stepped aside from that role for the time being.

Names of other riders with samples that were retested anonymously several years after they were taken are also set to be made public by the Senate.

Interviewed by France TV Info yesterday – you can watch the video here – a clearly exasperated and angry Hinault, who nowadays works on the race for organisers ASO, said: “They want to kill the Tour de France.

“It was 15 years ago, so they need to stop digging up the bodies.

"You get the impression they want to kill cycling. They want to kill the Tour de France, even the senators with their bullshit.

“You can ask the question, why bring this out now? Why always go looking at cycling? Why don’t the samples from the 1990s [from other sports] exist any more? Why don’t they make that come out? Enough of their bullshit! It’s always cycling that gets it. Maybe we’re no whiter than others, but we’re no blacker either. I don’t think so.”

Hinault, who besides those five Tour de France victories also won the Giro d’Italia three times, the Vuelta twice, and was road world champion in 1980, called on national sports governing bodies and the International Olympic Committee to “do their job” and put “everyone on an equal footing.”

He concluded: “Let them put the same constraints on all sports as they do on cyclists and they can open their mouths, but for now they have no interest in doing so.”

18 user comments

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Hmmm, shame Hinault doesn't see the bigger picture. But given the rumours regarding his doping while a pro its not surprising he supports the Omertà.

posted by Colin Peyresourde [1158 posts]
27th June 2013 - 11:03

5 Likes

The "Bigger Picture" Would Include a Bigger Microscope to study all other professional Sports with the same Intensity.
There needs to be a line drawn on the past. Future wise - lifetime bans for all Dopers.

posted by Dog72 [108 posts]
27th June 2013 - 11:12

5 Likes

Dog72 wrote:
The "Bigger Picture" Would Include a Bigger Microscope to study all other professional Sports with the same Intensity.
There needs to be a line drawn on the past. Future wise - lifetime bans for all Dopers.

Disagree. You increase the jeopardy for dopers by saying we will catch you whenever we can, rather than saying if we don't catch you at the time that is cool. The moral of Armstrong's story is that you may reap high rewards but you'll lose them all in the end if you cheat. Athletes will see that and the choice to dope becomes a little harder. Also, the point about LA was that the dopers were one step ahead of the anti-dopers. When they caught up with him he was hiding behind the 7 year rule. They caught him on a technicality.

Part of the bigger picture is that all athletes from all sports should have regular blood tests, not just cycling. The testing should be rigorous in and out of competition. We get rid of cheats in all sports and Hinault's precious Tour is not hit by negative publicity, because all the sports are equally in the sh!t.

Lifetime bans aren't required if there is an adequate blood testing program. If you can prove the cheats, or retrospectively catch them. If there is no where left to hide, people won't try to cheat.

posted by Colin Peyresourde [1158 posts]
27th June 2013 - 12:05

4 Likes

I do get Hinault's frustration - If I were a "dodgy doctor" wanting to "work" with sportsmen, I be following the money - football, it is simply awash with money but there's not much focus on football.
I loved the Juve team of the early-mid 90s. They had another gear.

http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/european/juventus-doctor-gui...

_SiD_'s picture

posted by _SiD_ [179 posts]
27th June 2013 - 12:09

6 Likes

Dog72 wrote:
The "Bigger Picture" Would Include a Bigger Microscope to study all other professional Sports with the same Intensity.
There needs to be a line drawn on the past. Future wise - lifetime bans for all Dopers.

I agree with this, and I am fervently anti-doping. We have by now established that virtually every single rider in the 90's and early 2000's was on the juice. It was a very dark era for our sport. We probably know that nearly every rider prior to the 90's was also on the juice, just of a lighter variety. Apologies to those that weren't. But cycling is moving on, and I personally get the feeling that we are approaching a watershed moment, where the balance of dopers/non-dopers is tipping in favour of the latter and we are cleaning up the sport. It is not helpful to produce a report on 90's dopers on the day the Tour goes up Alpe d'Huez in 2013. What are they telling us that we didn't already know? Jalabert today, Stephen Roche tomorrow, Kelly the next day - let sleeping dogs lie. Move on with lifetime bans for people caught now.

Can you imagine what the F$$k would be going on in Rwanda these days, or any other country where there has been genocide etc, if people didn't just swallow a very bitter pill and focus on making things better in future?

BTW - Armstrong deserved to be stripped. He was raiding the sweet shop when the peloton was starting to remove their hands from the cookie jar, and the climate and wind direction had changed. You cannot compare Jalabert in 98 with Armstrong in 2005 (or 2009, but that is another question for the lawyers and Oprah Winfrey).

theclaw's picture

posted by theclaw [75 posts]
27th June 2013 - 13:25

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I always liked Bernard (apart from when he still tried to win the Tour after promising to help Greg Lemond do so!); he tells it like it is Cool

posted by pwake [306 posts]
27th June 2013 - 13:39

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I have to agree. If outside bodies want to investigate sport doping do it for all sports. Spanish Puerto judge asking for all samples to now be destroyed now the case (against cycling) has been heard. Certainly can't have questions asked about football, tennis et al now can we?

bikeandy61's picture

posted by bikeandy61 [391 posts]
27th June 2013 - 14:30

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"Fifteen years ago...The 1990's". Sounds strangely familiar...

posted by The Rumpo Kid [590 posts]
27th June 2013 - 14:46

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Colin Peyresourde wrote:
Hmmm, shame Hinault doesn't see the bigger picture. But given the rumours regarding his doping while a pro its not surprising he supports the Omertà.

Can you elaborate? I'm not sure why, but i just can't bring myself to like the guy and always wondered if there was any dirt that would help justify my feelings. Given the era he raced in it really wouldn't surprise me.

posted by sneakerfrfeak [68 posts]
27th June 2013 - 15:39

5 Likes

Well the fix is in at Wimbledon, other sports are getting away with murder in the shadow of cycling.

DevonJohn

posted by solkanofastera [24 posts]
27th June 2013 - 17:04

5 Likes

From the Daily Mail's Nick Harris...

"With the world’s most prestigious tennis tournament due to start at Wimbledon a fortnight tomorrow, match-fixing experts have voiced fears that up to a dozen top-50 players who have been involved in ‘suspicious’ matches could be in action at the All England Club.

"One senior official with a long track record of tackling sports corruption has told The Mail on Sunday that the Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU), who have the task of eradicating match-fixing in the sport, is not equipped to deal with the problem.

"It is also alleged that well-known players implicated in suspicious matches are escaping while lesser-known transgressors are being punished, some with lifetime bans.

"The TIU have a policy of never discussing cases in public, or even revealing details of their verdicts. But this means the unit’s operations and subsequent disciplinary proceedings are carried out in almost total secrecy and this lack of transparency has alarmed critics..."

Maybe there should be a cycling integrity unit, that works in secret. That way cyclists could just suffer "an injury" rather than being named and shamed. So much less bad publicity that way....

posted by SideBurn [818 posts]
27th June 2013 - 18:14

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SideBurn wrote:

Maybe there should be a cycling integrity unit, that works in secret. That way cyclists could just suffer "an injury" rather than being named and shamed. So much less bad publicity that way....

Well there is a body that privately warned cyclists of suspicious blood tests, so they could clean up their act (i.e. get the microdosing right). It's called the UCI.

posted by The Rumpo Kid [590 posts]
27th June 2013 - 18:42

6 Likes

What the doping apologists ignore is the fact that the ergogenic benefits of drugs in the 60s, 70s and early 80s was nothing like as efficacious as epo and blood doping. Hinault, Merckx, Lemond were exceptional talents from their junior days, not exhibiting mid-career transformations like Rijs and Pharmstrong. I think what Hinault is suggesting is a French victory in 1998. If anyone thinks that cycling is the only pro sport with a drug problem, there's a stronger argument to the existence of the Easter Bunny!

Make mine an Italian with Campagnolo on the side

posted by monty dog [366 posts]
27th June 2013 - 18:42

4 Likes

sneakerfrfeak wrote:
Colin Peyresourde wrote:
Hmmm, shame Hinault doesn't see the bigger picture. But given the rumours regarding his doping while a pro its not surprising he supports the Omertà.

Can you elaborate? I'm not sure why, but i just can't bring myself to like the guy and always wondered if there was any dirt that would help justify my feelings. Given the era he raced in it really wouldn't surprise me.

I've always admired Hinault - "A hard man in the hardest of sports" as Gary Imlach once put it and I've never read or heard anything concrete to implicate Hinault in doping. You can never tell for certain but he was extremely consistent throughout his career and EPO came along a good few years after he had finished riding.

I agree with Hinault that all sports should be placed under the same scrutiny that cycling receives but I don't think we should ignore cheating just because it occurred some years ago. Armstrong's retrospective justice is surely another incentive for riders and teams to make the right choices.

JaseCD

posted by jasecd [147 posts]
27th June 2013 - 20:01

3 Likes

sneakerfrfeak wrote:
Colin Peyresourde wrote:
Hmmm, shame Hinault doesn't see the bigger picture. But given the rumours regarding his doping while a pro its not surprising he supports the Omertà.

Can you elaborate? I'm not sure why, but i just can't bring myself to like the guy and always wondered if there was any dirt that would help justify my feelings. Given the era he raced in it really wouldn't surprise me.

From what I remember, and I think it was in the book Slaying the Badger, there were suggestions he used steroids, which I understand were more popular as the drug if
choice in the eighties. I think he had a penchant for corticoids with his knee pain. At that time
Doctors regularly injected these into tendons in all sorts of sports, until they realised they turned them into spaghetti.

I think there was also some vague hint of blood doping, and links to some unsavoury doctors, but of course, nothing concrete. Don't forget, the US cycling team used blood doping in the 1984 Olympic Games to help them win on home soil. I am not sure that it was codified out until later. Though I think it was frowned upon.

posted by Colin Peyresourde [1158 posts]
28th June 2013 - 0:50

5 Likes

Getting back to the point. Doping in cycling is the tip of the iceberg in regards to PEDS in sport. Up until now even speculating about peds in football would end your career as a journalist. With Sir Alex banning hacks from press meetings for years for not bowing low enough - can you imagine the result of asking whether HGH and cortisone are part of the Premiership.

The next few years are going to be very educational for all those smug sports fans who've been sneering at cycling for so long.

Silly me. You're probably right....

MercuryOne's picture

posted by MercuryOne [1064 posts]
28th June 2013 - 9:13

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Chapeau, badger! Let them eat footballers!

posted by a.jumper [709 posts]
28th June 2013 - 9:54

3 Likes

The first I heard of 'blood doping' was Francesco Moser in his attempts at the hour record. He acclimatised himself to altitude (which increases your red blood cells) and then rode at sea level. This protocol seemed to be backed by Professor Conconi, and was done openly with no suggestion it was illegal. Dr Ferrari (Armstrong's Dr) studied under Professor Conconi. Dr Ferrari still maintains that Lance only did illegally what he could have done legally by living at altitude or sleeping in a reduced oxygen tent.

Synthetic EPO has only been available (according to the internet) since 1989. So if Hinault did 'blood dope' it could have been legal. You can still enhance your blood cells legally as long as you don't enhance too much! Further more you can take cortico-steroids for therapeutic use, legally, Hinault suffered from knee problems (Big gears in those days).

Cycling should not be slated for naming and shaming its cheats, it only encourages others to keep quiet or not test too thoroughly. Sponsors have already left the sport; when does the cure become worse than the problem?

posted by SideBurn [818 posts]
28th June 2013 - 10:31

4 Likes