Hinault: Tour can be won with 'mineral water'
Posted: Saturday July 18, 1998 07:51 PM
CORREZE, France (CNN/SI) -- Bernard Hinault of France who is only one of four people in the history of the race to have won the Tour de France five times, said Saturday it was possible to win cycling's ultimate prize by drinking "mineral water."
Hinault, who won the tour in 1978, 1979, 1981, 1982 and 1985 is now a consultant for the Tour organizers, said that, "there will always be donkeys who want to become race horses. But you can win the tour on mineral water."
On the other hand another five-time champion Eddy Merckx once said, "you don't win the tour on bread and water."
Hinault's observations came after the exclusion from this year's race of the Festina team, whose team director confessed to the doping of his riders.
Hinault said he believed the scandal surrounding the Festina case would turn a page in the history of cycling.
"I hope it will have positive consequences. For the first time, people are going to be sentenced. In the past, only riders were tested and banned, now the ones who provide the dope will pay," he said.
"There will be before and after the Festina case, but the Tour will survive because the public will react," he added.
Asked if he had been offered doping substances as a rider, he said he had but had always turned down the offers. "If you're strong enough to say no the first time around, they will not come back to you. And I was not a donkey," he said.
Reuters contributed to this report.
Copyright © 1999 CNN/SI. A Time Warner Company.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.