By Richard Moore
Bernard Hinault is "Le Blaireau," the Badger. tricky as previous boots, he's the outdated warrior of the French peloton, as respected as he's feared for his ferocious assaults. He has gained five excursions de France, marking his identify into the background books as a member of cycling's such a lot unique club.
Yet because the 1986 travel de France ascends into the mountains, a boyish and pleasant younger American named Greg LeMond threatens the Badger—and France’s complete biking historical past. referred to as "L'Américain," the naïve travel newcomer rides strongly, unafraid.
The stakes are excessive. profitable for Hinault capacity capping his lengthy biking occupation by means of turning into the 1st guy to win the journey six occasions. For LeMond, a win will deliver the United States its first journey de France victory. So why does their competition surprise the world?
LeMond and Hinault journey for a similar team.
Asked by means of a reporter why he attacked his personal teammate, the Badger replies, "Because I felt like it." and "If he doesn't buckle, that implies he's a champion and merits to win the race. I did it for his personal good."
LeMond turns into paranoid, taking different riders' feed luggage within the feed area and blaming crashes on sabotage. via all of it, with the aid of his American teammate Andy Hampsten, LeMond rides like a champion and turns into the 1st American to win the travel de France. His win indications the passing of cycling's final hide-bound iteration and the beginning of a brand new breed of riders.
In Slaying the Badger, award-winning writer Richard Moore strains every one tale line to its resource via innumerable interviews—not merely with LeMond and Hinault of their personal houses but additionally with teammates, opponents, race administrators, reporters, sponsors, and promoters. instructed from those many views, the alliances, tirades, and damaged supplies divulged in Slaying the Badger construct to the beautiful climax of the 1986 travel de France. Slaying the Badger is an incomparably distinctive and hugely revealing story of cycling's such a lot awesome rivalry.
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Extra info for Slaying the Badger: Greg LeMond, Bernard Hinault, and the Greatest Tour de France
While Andersen punctured whereas nonetheless in yellow, Hinault paced him again to the peloton. And while the Dane took a flip on the entrance, helping the chase of a breakaway, he felt Hinault’s hand on his arm. ‘You rest,’ Hinault instructed him. ‘You’ve labored too tough. ’ Hinault then moved in entrance, gesturing for Andersen to take care of in the back of whereas he lent his enormous power to the chase. ‘I might die for that man,’ stated Andersen after relinquishing the jersey to Hinault in Strasbourg, on the finish of a 75km time that Hinault received by means of a superb mins twenty seconds from Stephen Roche. LeMond was once fourth, an additional fourteen seconds down. ‘A devastating result,’ acknowledged the British journal biking Weekly of Hinault’s functionality within the time trial, prior to supplying a well-liked – yet, because it grew to become out, ridiculously untimely – verdict: ‘Press opinion used to be that the travel used to be over and everybody may possibly in addition cross domestic. ’ It used to be an comprehensible verdict, although. Going into the Tour’s relaxation day, after the Alps had obvious Hinault stamp his authority at the race, then consolidate his lead in yet again trial, the Badger held a commanding virtue: 5 mins twenty-three seconds over his teammate, LeMond. It proven that Hinault was once again to his top – his contemptuous top, because the press stumbled on at the leisure day, following the time trial. on the resort des Alpes, within the village of Saint Nizier du Moucherotte, an Hinault press convention used to be scheduled for eleven a. m. yet at 11 o’clock there has been no signal. And at eleven. 30, with the endurance of the assembled newshounds and television crews commencing to put on skinny, the Badger nonetheless hadn’t confirmed up. the place used to be he? ‘Out training,’ stated a member of l. a. Vie Claire’s aid employees. At eleven. forty Hinault deigned to seem. Casually sitting himself down at the steps, instead of at the back of the desk that were arrange as a degree, and whereas photographers buzzed round like wasps, Hinault slipped on a nylon windproof jacket and held court docket. He was once requested if he used to be scared of the mountains nonetheless to come back, with numerous daunting levels within the Pyrenees. ‘I’m by no means frightened of anything,’ he answered. It was once a case of delight coming ahead of a fall. simply because in Saint-Étienne, twenty-four hours later, the tale of the 1985 journey de France – and Hinault’s procession to his 5th win – took the main dramatic and unforeseen of twists. LeMond comprehensive in a small staff in the back of the level winner Luis Herrera, nearly mins prior to a bunch containing the yellow-jerseyed Hinault. This suitable them either, and it applicable los angeles Vie Claire: it moved LeMond up the general category, consolidating his moment total putting, whereas Hinault remained impervious within the maillot jaune of total chief. in truth, it was once a tactical masterstroke, considerably strengthening Paul Köchli’s hand. yet as LeMond spoke to journalists after the level, expecting the coming, any second, of Hinault’s workforce, there has been drama. A radio reporter burst throughout the throng surrounding LeMond, yelling: ‘Hinault’s crashed! ’ ‘What? ’ answered LeMond.