A beautiful photo of the two cycling giants: Bernard Hinault and Francesco Moser, during the 1981 Paris-Roubaix. The photo was taken by Albert Van Donghe. Hinault won the race prevailing in front of former four times winner Roger De Vlaeminck and reigning triple winner Francesco Moser on a rainy and muddy day. Ironically, Paris-Roubaix was the race that Bernard Hinault hated the most and despite that, he managed to win with the world champion’s rainbow jersey on his back.

Francesco Moser and Bernard Hinault during Paris-Roubaix 1981
Francesco Moser and Bernard Hinault during Paris-Roubaix 1981

In 1981, the race was held on April 12th and covered a distance of approximately 264 kilometers. The race began in Compiègne, north of Paris, and concluded in Roubaix, near the Belgian border.

The conditions were challenging, with typical northern France spring weather, rain, and mud adding an extra layer of difficulty. The combination of cold, mud, rain, and rough cobblestones made the race particularly grueling.

With about 8 kilometers to go, Bernard Hinault attempted to break away but was hauled in by Hennie Kuiper acting for Roger De Vlaeminck. Hinault then crashed with few kilometers to go but quickly got on his bike and re-joined the front group before the last kilometer.

In the Roubaix Velodrome, the Dutch classics specialist Hennie Kuiper took the lead to favor the sprint of De Vlaeminck. Hinault took charge with about a lap to go and initiated a long sprint. In the end, he was able to resist the charge from Roger De Vlaeminck and became the first French winner of the Paris-Roubaix for 25 years (after Louison Bobet in 1956).

Hinault’s 1981 Paris-Roubaix victory was a testament to his versatility and determination. Despite not being a specialist in one-day races, especially those on cobblestones, he managed to outperform riders who were more accustomed to such conditions. This victory added to his reputation as one of the greatest cyclists of all time.

Video: Paris-Roubaix 1981 – Bernard Hinault’s Historic Victory with the rainbow jersey

It was a race remembered for its harsh conditions and the way it exemplifies the unique challenges of this iconic cycling event.

Paris-Roubaix 1981 – Bernard Hinault’s Historic Victory with the rainbow jersey

Main events in the video:

  • 7:08 Puncture of Gilbert Duclos-Lassalle
  • 12:30 Fall of Bernard Hinault
  • 19:15 Arrival at the Roubaix velodrome
  • 25:00 Interview of Bernard Hinault

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M. Özgür Nevres

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