The French champion receives his entry into the Giro d’Italia Hall of Fame. With his three successes in 1980, 1982 and 1985, Hinault joins the roll of honor alongside Merckx (2012), Gimondi (2013), Roche (2014), Moser (2015) and Baldini (2016).
He was one of the strongest riders of all time, one of only six riders ever to have won all three Grand Tours in their career. Nicknamed le Blaireau (the Badger), Bernard Hinault won the Giro d’Italia in 1980, 1982 and 1985.
The Corsa Rosa wanted to celebrate him today with his induction into the Giro d’Italia Hall of Fame – in the stunning scenery of the Teatro Gerolamo (Gerolamo Theater) in Milan, just a stone’s throw from the Duomo of Milan.
“It is an honor to receive my induction into the Giro d’Italia Hall of Fame. The Giro is one of the races I have loved the most in my career and I continue to love this race, its passion and its fans. All the foreign riders who have come to Italy for the Giro always respected the race and give everything to win it. The Giro d’Italia was, and always will be, a very high level international race that everyone wants to win. The Maglia Rosa is symbolic, a history in itself. It has a value and it is fantastic to try to earn it on every race day. For me the Maglia Rosa has the same value as the other important jerseys that I have worn, such as the Rainbow Jersey or the Yellow Jersey of the Tour de France. My successor in the Giro d’Italia Hall of Fame? My two suggestions are: Miguel Indurain and Giuseppe Saronni”, said Hinault. “Having seen the route of the Giro100, it seems beautiful and very interesting. It has everything to make it exciting until the end: climbs, Time Trials and many challenging stages. It is really tough and complete. I believe the favorites could be Quintana and Nibali.”
Across his career Hinault participated in 13 Grand Tours, winning ten and collecting two second places and a withdraw. An impressive percentage of triumphs, with the truly extraordinary achievement coming at the Giro d’Italia: three General Classification victories from three starts.
In 1980, at the age of 25, Hinault competed in his first Giro. Roccaraso witnessed his first stage victory, with Wladimiro “Miro” Panizza, second on the finish line, who took the Maglia Rosa. But the Breton was a giant who dominated the mountains, like the Stelvio, when with three stages remaining to the finish of the Giro, the Badger broke the pink dream of Panizza and won his first Giro.
1982 was the year of Hinault’s first legendary Giro-Tour double, equalling Coppi, Anquetil and Merckx. It was a Giro dominated by the Badger, with just one difficult day on the Passo Crocedomini, when he was attacked by the three Piaggio Bianchi riders Prim, Contini and Baronchelli who made him suffer. The next day in Montecampione the music changed, and the Piaggio Bianchi orchestra could not follow the pace of the Breton’s solo, whose rosa symphony was irresistible.
1985: a Giro d’Italia “of the tunnels, rather than of the mountains,” wrote someone – a Giro with few mountains seemed suited to the time-trialists such as Moser. But on the road the 30-year-old Hinault, in his full maturity, won the Individual Time Trial at Maddaloni and, after 12 stages, conquered the leadership of the Giro. Moser’s victory on the stage in Lucca could not stop Hinault from winning his third Giro. In the same year he won also the Tour de France, for another Giro-Tour double.
Six stage wins, 31 days wearing the Maglia Rosa, three victories out of three starts: the perfect statistics. Hinault is rightly considered one of the three giants of all time, alongside Coppi and Merckx.