It doesn’t matter whether it’s a hooligan trying to jump on a Tour de France stage or an unruly kid attempting to disrupt a Tour presentation in Yorkshire, England, Bernard Hinault swings into action.
The five time Tour de France champion was in attendance at the Kippax North primary school to help promote the Yorkshire start of the 2014 Tour when a misbehaving boy suddenly jumped on stage.
Hinault is famous for throwing people off stages at the Tour and before hundreds of horrified parents, he picked up the boy and launched him off the stage.
Seven year old Nigel Barbrooke suffered only minor cuts and bruises in the incident however his parents were shocked by Hinault’s actions.
“He’s just a kid, a good kid having a bit of a lark,” said his father Derek. “I don’t see that merits being tossed violently off stage. Really, who does he think he is — you can bet he’ll be hearing from our solicitor.”
However, when questioned by journalists, Hinault was unapologetic. “French children are well-mannered but the same cannot be said of the English. Nobody is going to disrupt a Tour presentation and I don’t care how old they are or how cute they look,” said Hinault.
Officials at the Kippax school were quick to minimize what was a potentially embarrassing event. “Really, it was more of a push than a shove,” said Marjorie Wilkens, the principal. “I believe Mr. Hinault was simply trying to usher Nigel off stage and the boy slipped. Bernard was actually lovely with the kids.”
That version of events may not hold up well with local police. Examination of footage from several home movie cameras shows Hinault gabbing the boy by the arms and tossing him off the stage. Shortly thereafter, Hinault left quickly for the airport and authorities were unable to detain him for questioning.
Despite all the fuss, Nigel Barbrooke himself seemed to enjoy the rough handling by Hinault. “My dad used to give me some great airplane rides but the French guy really topped that,” said the boy. “I was flying.”
Truth or fiction? You decide.