Splendid book by, I think, one of the best most readable cycling authors Aside from the story of Hinault himself there s lots of thought provoking info about the world of French cycling and why they no longer dominate esp the TdeF the way they did into the 1980s The abandonment of many of the small scale club racing even in Normandy and Brittany where many of the French stars learned their trade in recent years strikes a chord the roads are just too busy now, and small events can t afford the costs of road closures The TdeF may have been transformed into a wealthy global event, but at base level all is not well And the media, where the money is, sadly neglects the excellent Monuments and even the Giro and the Veluta outside of Italy and Spain So one can understand the fall of French cycling, but its a little harder to see the logic of the rise Another excellent book by Fotheringham, one of a number of first rate writers whose subject is cycling Fotheringham takes the reader into the milieu that produced Hinault, in which he always remained, even as a top rider, and to which he happily retired A interesting character than Merckx and one whom Fotheringham understands better than he did Coppi. I hesitated between a three and a four star rating, opting finally for the latter on the grounds that William Fotheringham writes extremely well I found, however, little new in this book and, if you are already pretty familiar with the career of Bernard Hinault, I suspect it will be the same for you This is, as another reviewer has noted, very much a book about Hinault, with a section on French cycling post Hinault or at least post Fignon which seems something of an afterthought and which also appears to suggest that Barguil has brighter prospects than Bardet or Pinot So yes, this is a well written biography of Bernard Hinault but, for me, it was short on new material. I did enjoy reading this book about this God of French cycling A very complicated man and I felt once I had read this book I understood him and his actions a lot better There are some humorous recollections from his past from the likes of Sean Kelly, Stephen Roche and Robert Miller that add to the enjoyment I must admit I put the book down sometimes laughing and sometimes shaking my head at some of his antics French cycling certainly has nothing like him now Not a book for the Greg Lamond fans, but I think you can understand the Badgers viewpoint on what went on in those Tour s during the mid 80 s Well worth the read I bought this because I didn t know much about Bernard Hinault Interesting learning about the history of cycling and Mr Hinault s career. I declare an interest I had pictures of Hinault cut out from the pages of Mirroir du Cyclisme on my bedroom walls when I was a boy racer Fotheringham s book has reawakened my love affair with all things Badger The real strength of the book is its explanation of the changes that took place in professional cycling which coincided with Hinault s reign as Patron of the peloton When Hinault started, the sport looked very much like it did in the 1950s By the time he had won the last of his 5 tours, it looked much like the modern era specialist equipment, shorter stages, fewer races in the calendar, focus on the Tour to the exclusion of year round competition, the advance and then dominance of the Anglos, and of course the two speed peloton I share Fotheringham s wistful nostalgia for the heroic days of old, when Badgers bestrode the Alps. Bernard Hinault Is One Of The Greatest Cyclists Of All Time He Is A Five Time Winner Of The Tour De France And The Only Man To Have Won Each Of The Grand Tours On Than One Occasion Three Decades On From His Retirement, He Remains The Last Frenchman To Win The Tour De France His Victory In Marks The Turning Point When The Nation Who Had Dominated The First Eight Decades Of The Race They Had Invented Suddenly Found They Were No Longer Able To Win It Hinault Is The Last Old School Champion A Larger Than Life Character From A Working Class Background, Capable Of Winning On All Terrains, In Major Tours And One Day Classics Nicknamed The Badger For His Combative Style, He Led A Cyclists Strike In His First Tour And Instigated A Legendary Punch Up With Demonstrators In While In The Middle Of A Race Hinault S Battles With Team Mates Laurent Fignon And Greg LeMond Provide Some Of The Greatest Moments In Tour History In Bernard Hinault And The Fall And Rise Of French Cycling, Number One Best Selling Author William Fotheringham Finally Gets To The Bottom Of This Fascinating Character And Explores The Reasons Why The Nation That Considers Itself Cycling S Home Has Found It So Hard To Produce Another Champion A great biography of one of cycling s greatest characters I got this book as a loan and enjoyed it so much that I bought it It s well written and an interesting subject, if you like stories about famous riders of the Tour de France you shouldn t miss it Informative and tradesman like account of this issue.But it lacks that oomph which is essential for compelling reading but the subject matter makes it impossible to get excited because French cycling is tepid at best Whether a deeper investigation into French doping is offside or not professionally worthwhile left a good part of the book hanging.Walsh did it but got ostracised.