Bernard Hinault has hit out at newly-crowned Giro d’Italia champion Chris Froome after Froome became just the third rider in history – after Hinault and Eddy Merckx – to hold all three of cycling’s Grand Tours at once.
In an interview with Belgian newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws, the five-time Tour de France, three-time Giro d’Italia, and two-time Vuelta a España winner said that Froome did not deserve to be listed alongside him as one of the legends of the sport.
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“Froome does not belong on that list [of legends of cycling],” Hinault said in the wake of Froome’s victory in the Giro d’Italia, which he completed with an investigation into an adverse analytical finding at the 2017 Vuelta a España still ongoing.
Hinault, who served a one-month ban for refusing to take a doping test just two days after he had won the Tour de France 1982, also hit out at the fact that Froome was allowed to take part in the Giro with uncertainty continuing over the salbutamol case.
“He should never have been allowed to start in the Giro,” Hinault continued. “Why do we have to wait so long for a verdict? What right does Froome have to get so much time to find an explanation?”
With UCI president David Lappartient having said that it is unlikely that Froome’s case will be resolved before July, the 33-year-old now looks almost certain to take to the start of the Tour de France on July 7 with the salbutamol case still ongoing.
Discussing this situation, Hinault described Froome’s possible presence at the Tour as a “real scandal”, leading to the possibility of some frosty podium proceedings if Froome hits form in July and Hinault, taking on his usual podium role, is charged with presenting the Team Sky rider with his prizes after a stage.