The Tour de France podium will be missing a true legend of cycling from next year with the news that Bernard Hinault, five-time winner of the race and who for a number of years has handled post-stage protocol for organisers ASO, is giving up the role so he can spend more time with his family.
Aged 61, the Breton rider nicknamed ‘The Badger’ whose successes in cycling’s biggest race spanned the years 1978 and 1985 told the radio station Europe 1 that this year’s race would be his final participation.
“I have the right to retire,” he said. “I’ve given plenty, and I hope to enjoy my retirement.
“I have a grandson aged 16 months, I have two children I never saw grow up, so I want to see them.
“I have friends who have passed away, some younger than me, some older.
“I’m going to try and enjoy life a little.
“Even if the Tour and bike races are a passion, I want to be a bit closer to my family.”
Combative both on and off the bike during his riding career – during the 1984 edition of Paris-Nice he famously swung a punch at a protesting shipyard worker among demonstrators seeking to halt the race on the Col d’Eze – he also guarded the Tour de France podium jealously during his more recent role.
In 2008, he bundled off the podium a protestor who tried to use the post-stage ceremony as a platform for his grievances.
Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.