Five-time tour de France winner and French cycling legend Bernard Hinault has spared no words in saying Chris Froome should not have raced the Giro d’Italia or the upcoming Tour de France.
It’s Hinault’s strong opinion that Froome’s legal case over an adverse finding for salbutamol should have kept the Briton from racing at all. He then called for the entire peloton to protest Froome’s intention to ride Le Tour.
Hinault wrapped up his rant to L’Equipe by stating in no uncertain terms that “I don’t think he has a place at the race.
It occurs to Twisted Spoke that Hinault has largely become the anguished media voice for both A.S.O., the organizer of Le Tour and the UCI, the governing body of the sport. Despite both having an ethics clause designed to keep a rider from negatively impacting the image of the Tour and pro cycling, neither organization seems confident enough to try and stop Froome from lining up in the Vendee for the Tour de France.
Hinault therefore fulfills the role of angry, frustrated, disgusted and impotent mouthpiece. He says all the things Tour boss Christian Prudhomme and UCI president David Lappartient would like to say. If those two men are powerless to stop Froome and his lawyers and large war chest of funds, then it’s up to Hinault to try to shame Froome and punish him in the media. He won’t stop Froome but at least he will rile up the roadside fans along the entire Tour route. Froome should expect plenty of spittle aimed at his face.
It’s a shock to realize that neither the Tour or UCI, the two most powerful forces in pro cycling are so terrified for Froome and losing a case in the Court for Arbitration in Sports. With the Tour basically just a week after from the July 7th depart, it’s clear there will be no bold move by either organization to push Froome out of the race.
And so Hinault rages on. He used to work for A.S.O. playing ambassador and occasionally throwing hecklers and buffoons of the presentation stages. Prudhomme and Lappartient must wish Hinault could toss Froome out just as easily.
Sadly, that’s not going to happen. Giro d’Italia boss Mauro Vegni begged the UCI to resolve Froome case before his race, Prudhoome begged the UCI to reach a decision on Froome before Le Tour and already Javier Guillén, director of the Vuelta a Espana is imploring the UCI to decide Froome’s fate before the Spanish grand tour.
All in vain in a sport held hostage by Froome and Team Sky for over 8 months. It’s been eight years since Alberto Contador tested positive for clenbuterol and the UCI appears to have learned nothing from the experience.
Hinault is outraged but it means nothing. But it’s sound and fury signifying nothing but impotence.