On the occasion of the release of the book “Hinault” (112 pages, €19.90), Prolongation offers digital subscribers in Ouest-France some content from the first issue of its new collection, published in Éditions Ouest-France. Today, discover the third of four parts from the interview on the river that Le Blaireau gave us.
TO READ. Hinault by Éditions Ouest-France, “Extend” collection. 112 pages. €19.90. Orders and wonderful surprises (poster, subscription to Ouest-France, luxury edition, meeting with Hinault) to discover in Ulule.
This March morning the sky is gray, the fine, quiet rain darkens a little more the granite facades of Calorguen, in Côtes-d’Armor. Bernard Hinault looked out the window. He opened, kind, ready. He invited me to sit around the wooden kitchen table. He put his elbows on it, his working hands on it. Bernard Hinault has the energy of cold mornings and local people.
The son, Mickaël, crossed the room, said a few words to his father as we continued a discussion started earlier. It is a question of welcoming the Ukrainian refugees, the prefecture, which “Everything is always complicated” shrug of the shoulders. After a while, Martine, his wife, also crossed the room, looking for his cellphone charger.
The interview first lasted an hour and a half, at his home. Then he continued to the table of La Vieille Braise, a family and beautiful house in the center of the town of Lanvallay, a few minutes by car where the Badger tire must not be lost, which hurts the curves. Blond beer, seafood shell, salmon pavé with zucchini spaghetti, fruity softness, strong coffee.
Three hours, then, with this man who first sniffed you and then settled himself; who looks at you with a whisper, who strikes, then who, every hour, unbuttons. Until funny, provocative, relieved, cleared, always simple, direct, true. Hinault can only be Hinault. Novelists are left, writers to stretch their sentences.
You can, like many others, retrain in the industry.
I stick to cycling through ASO. But I can never take care of a team. I can’t hold my own against a guy who has skills but doesn’t work hard.
You would have been an incomparable sports director.
I think so. I am very hard on runners. I said to myself. I know myself among people who fight to win, who are very hard, who do everything to get there, to escape from it. This is how the Slovenians are today.
For you, a champion is born of discomfort?
Some may be born into comfort. But usually, these are people who don’t have much in the beginning. Pogacar, where is he from? Roglic? From a country with a smaller population than Brittany. You have to fight to get out. Who would have bet ten years ago on a Colombian or a Slovenian winning the Tour? Soon it will be Africa. Pogacar is a warrior. He has won two Tours. This one, if he doesn’t have a tile, is fine.
“You have to defend the bike, I always do”
Do you allow us to suspect Pogacar and his associates?
We have to stop all this. He goes through the controls like everyone else. That’s it, that’s our problem in France! When a rider is a foreigner and wins, there are doubts. You don’t ask yourself if Alaphilippe wins races?
Bah, in these cases, you can ask yourself about all the sportsmen. You have to trust at some point, otherwise you won’t survive, everyone suspects. Roglic, Pogacar and even Mohoric did not understand why we asked. When you win, it doesn’t make sense. I believe in trust.
Isn’t there too much doubt in your day?
Same, don’t believe it. In 1980, when I quit the Tour de France, I received letters: ” It’s good for your face, you shouldn’t take too much. “I’m a dope for some. The teams themselves raise suspicion. It makes me sad. Damn, they go to the controls like everyone else! The American (Lance Armstrong), I didn’t believe it at first when he came back from his illness. And then he lost 12 kg, very big in the mountains, former world champion. Very good. And then I was disappointed afterwards, to understand.
All of these are detrimental to cycling, all the same.
Yes, but we never ask ourselves the same questions about other games. For example in football. When Contador said it was because of a contaminated piece of meat that he was positive, we said it couldn’t be. If it’s a football team, it’s over. Until you have proof, shut up. Or you seek and you find.
ALSO READ. MAINTENANCE. Bernard Hinault: “I have to eat, I am housed, fed, washed: a childhood dream”
You are always angry.
Yes, because my game was attacked! And some, no. If you make a control at Roland-Garros, there won’t be many players coming. Murray, Federer, I believe in it. Nadal me. And no one said anything. The press is also wrong. He is still in the Puerto case but his name has not come out. There were two hundred names, we took fifty cyclists and not the others. So? Why? And those who dare to say that he…