Five-time Tour de France winner Bernard Hinault has called on French riders Thibaut Pinot, Warren Barguil and Romain Bardet to take risks in the 2016 Tour de France if they want to stop Chris Froome and Team Sky from again dominating the race.
Hinault won the Tour de France in 1978, 1979, 1981, 1982 and 1985, often throwing caution to wind and making audacious attacks, even against his own teammate Greg LeMond. He remains the last Frenchman to win the Tour de France.
The 2016 Tour de France will celebrate the 25th anniversary of Hinault’s world road race title in Sallanches, with a stage start in the Alpine town. He now works for Tour de France organiser ASO, overseeing the daily podium ceremonies. Despite now being 60, Hinault not lost any of the aggression that earned him the nickname of the ‘Le Blaireau' - the Badger.
Both Pinot and Bardet won stages in the Tour de France but were unable to fight for a place on the podium.
"This Tour will be very open, with constant dangers, even during the opening stages near the Channel," Hinault warned when speaking about the 2016 route to l'Equipe.
"The Granville stage (three) could do considerable damage. After that there are a lot of mountain stages to Bagnères-de-Luchon, Culoz and others. To win this Tour, the riders will have to take the initiative and be ever present.
"This year Chris Froome cleaned up on Pierre Saint-Martin, when the climb wasn’t that steep. The others should try to use every opportunity given by the route to take him on. Pinot, Bardet and Barguil should take a few risks like they did on the stage to Mende. They shouldn’t hesitate and wait to be shunted down the classification. They should try to influence the race, if they do, the Tour will give them opportunities, especially as there is no long time trial. 54km is okay and there’s no team time trial. It’s only by trying to shake up the race that they can hope to win the Tour one day, even if it seems difficult for them to do it."
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