Bernard Hinault is a Baller. He falls. He chases. He gets back on. He goes straight to the front and takes them all by the throat. The man had so much class. He was simply unstoppable.
As the six riders entered the velodrome it read like a who’s who of Paris Roubaix greats. De Vlaeminick (’72,’74,’75,’77), Moser (’78,’79,’80) Hinault (’81), Kuiper (’83), Van Claster and Demeyer (’76). Out of all those riders only Van Claster would never go on to win it the race.
There is something magical about a win in the World Champions Jersey, a win at Paris Roubaix in that jersey installs you in a famous dynasty. (http://sprintingforsigns.blogspot.com/2009/04/paris-roubaix-1981-hinault-charms-queen.html).
1981 – Paris-Roubaix
From @choinumni4 in the comments following the video on Youtube:
I arrived at the Roubaix track in third position and immediately looked up at the flags to see which way the wind was blowing. Having seen what I needed to, I made sure that I was first over the line with one lap of the 500-metre track to go. When the bell for the last lap rang I was in the lead . . . There was a following wind for the last 200 metres and i [sic] finished a length up on Roger de Vlaeminck. (http://www.youtube.com/comment?lc=enBbnXtoh9m86P4xlU1lrzjN0XA337bvXby9et3TDLc).
I’d sprinted the whole distance without ever easing, increasing the pace over the past few hundred metres. I used the same trick a few days later in the Amstel Gold, when I was in the lead with a kilometre to go, and stayed there . . . I liked going for a long sprint like that, using my observation and judgment to get the timing right. By going from a long way I let the others think that they could overtake me; but they were wrong. (http://www.youtube.com/comment?lc=enBbnXtoh9n3hJUmYCVi_JspVzhpIBrMoLKpzuu5P7E).
I found two more excellent articles while putting this post together. Take a moment to check out the excellent write up on the race at Uncle Dave’s Cycling Archive (http://cyclingarchive.tripod.com/frhtml/pr81.htm). And, Follow the Badger for more information on one of the hardest men professional cycling has ever had in it’s ranks. (http://rouleurmagazine.wordpress.com/2011/03/03/follow-the-badger/).by