Hinault to headline Tour Down Under Legends’ Night Dinner
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Thursday, December 20, 2012

Hinault to headline Tour Down Under Legends’ Night Dinner

by VeloNation Press at 8:09 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour Down Under
 
Charismatic Frenchman to be honoured in year of 100th edition of the Tour de France

Bernard HinaultFive time Tour de France winner Bernard Hinault will follow on from others such as Eddy Merckx who have previously been star guests at the Legends’ Night Dinner at the Santos Tour Down Under, with the Frenchman set to make the trip to Australia next month.

Hinault, who was one of the sport’s toughest-ever riders, has been pinpointed as a likely star draw for the dinner, which will take place on Saturday January 26th, one day before the WorldTour race finishes.

His attendance corresponds with the 100th edition of the Tour de France, which will take place in July 2013.

“We have always had Bernard Hinault in our sights as someone we’d love to have at the Santos Tour Down Under,” said race director Mike Turtur. “It’s great that he will join us in January, coinciding with the race’s 15th anniversary celebrations.

“He is one of only four cyclists to have won all three Grand Tours and is quite possibly the greatest cyclist of his generation, with perhaps the exception of Eddy Merckx.”

Hinault was a strong time trialist and climber, and was also known for his aggressive nature. He won his first Tour in 1978 and dominated his second one year later with a 13 minute 7 second winning margin over Joop Zoetemelk.

He was then even stronger in his third edition in 1981, beating 1976 winner Lucien Van Impe by 14 minutes 34 seconds. He also triumphed in 1982 ahead of Zoetemelk and in 1985 ahead of Greg LeMond.

Hinault took 28 Tour stages in all and wore the yellow jersey on 75 occasions.

He was also a hugely talented rider away from the Tour, netting three wins in the Giro d’Italia, two in the Vuelta a España, and also taking the world championships, Paris-Roubaix, Liège-Bastogne-Liège, the Giro di Lombardia, the Amstel Gold Race plus many more wins. And while he retired in 1986, he has remained highly visible due to his work each year at the Tour de France.

“I am looking forward to travelling to Adelaide for the Santos Tour Down Under and I want to thank the organisers for the invitation,” said Hinault, who praised the race.

“Since Phil Anderson, who used to race with me, Australian cycling kept improving with a fabulous track tradition and great riders like Robbie McEwen, Stuart O’Grady and Cadel Evans, who finally became the first Australian to win the Tour de France.

“When I used to race, I always started my season in Europe because there was no professional races out of Europe. I would have liked to start my season here,” he continued.

“I’m very glad and honoured to be part of the Legends’ Night Dinner in 2013, and stand along the great current champions of our sport, that are Andy Schleck and Philippe Gilbert.”

The Santos Tour Down Under will begin on January 22nd, although the People’s Choice Classic circuit race will be held two days earlier and will feature the same lineup.

Each of the sport’s top teams will take part as the race is a WorldTour event. It was won last year by Simon Gerrans (Orica GreenEdge), who will return to defend his title.

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