Five-time Tour de France winner, Bernard Hinault will make his debut appearance at the 2013 Santos Tour Down Under and join a star-studded line-up at the Legends’ Night Dinner.
Santos Tour Down Under, Race Director, Mike Turtur announced today cycling fans across Australia have the chance to see Hinault at the Legends’ Night Dinner at the Adelaide Convention Centre, on Saturday, 26 January 2013. He will be a guest of the event to honour and celebrate both his career and 100 years of the Tour de France in 2013.
“We have always had Bernard Hinault in our sights as someone we’d love to have at the Santos Tour Down Under and it’s great that he will join us in January, coinciding with the race’s 15th anniversary celebrations,” Mike Turtur said.
“He is one of only four cyclists to have won all three Grand Tours (Tour de France, Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a Espana) and is quite possibly the greatest cyclist of his generation, with perhaps the exception of Eddy Merckx.”
Hinault achieved first place in the Tour de France in 1978, 1979, 1981, 1982 and 1985. In addition to these victories, he was second in 1984 and 1986 and has won 28 Tour de France stages, of which 13 were individual time trials.
Nicknamed “The Badger” because of his competitive fighting style on the bike, Hinault was a complete rider who could climb, sprint, and time trial with the best.
Bernard Hinault, who will be in Adelaide for the last weekend’s action, said he was looking forward to visiting South Australia for the race.
“I am looking forward to travelling to Adelaide for the Santos Tour Down Under and I want to thank the organizers for the invitation. The Santos Tour Down Under has become a great race, with some of the best riders in the world and beautiful race routes,” said Mr Hinault.
Bernard Hinault said the growth of cycling in Australia was highlighted by the fact the professional cycling season began in Adelaide.
“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.
“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.”
Hinault's accomplishments include five Tour de France titles, two second place finishes, a Mountains Jersey and a Points Jersey in the race. He won the Giro d'Italia three times, the Vuelta a Espana twice, a 1st, 3rd, and 5th place in the World Championship Road Race, a Paris-Roubaix title, two Liege-Bastogne-Liege victories, two Tour of Lombardy victories, plus victories in the Amstel Gold Race, the Ghent-Wevelgem, and two victories in the Fleche Wallone.
Hitaf Rasheed, General Manager, Events South Australia said that the event was pleased Hinault had accepted the invitation to attend, joining a list of cycling greats who have been honoured at the event over the last 15 years.
“The opportunity to welcome one of the best cyclists in the history of the sport to the 2013 Santos Tour Down Under is a great coup for the event and cycling fans. Bernard Hinault will be honoured on stage alongside Philippe Gilbert, Andy Schleck and Anna Meares,” said Ms Rasheed.
The Legends’ Night Dinner is on Saturday, January, 26, 2013. Tickets cost $250 a person and can be purchased online.
The 2013 Santos Tour Down Under will be held in Adelaide and regional South Australia from 20 – 27 January 2013.