Thursday, September 16, 2010

Wasp Sting!

1978 Tour, stage 4, Evreux-Caen TTT...
the Wasp like jersey in full force with
French National Champion, Bernard Hinault.



The Renault-Gitane cycling team started in 1978. The French state owned automobile giant along with the famous bicycle maker was directed by the astute, Cyrille Guimard. The new cycling team introduced Bernard Hinault, at 23 years old, to his first Tour de France. As preparation he won the Vuelta and looked towards the big prize. The Badger joined a tough squad ready to support him; Jean-Rene Bernaudeau, Yvon Bertin, Jacques Bossis, Andre Chalmel, Gilbert Chaumaz, Lucien Didier, Bernard Quilfen, Willy Teirlinck, & Pierre-Raymond Villemaine.

Hinault already tasted the winners circle, coming into his first Tour winning many classics the previous year. Liege-Bastogne-Liege, Ghent Wevelgem, Grand Prix des Nations (showing his time trailing brilliance) & the Daphine Libere (the mini Tour with mountains).



...the '78 buzz.



When Laurent Fignon first signed for Renault, he said that the team was part of the flesh and blood of French life. To me, it captivated and awe inspired me. Renault would always present, to me, the Badger’s & Fignon’s winning ways with Guimard at the helm. The Renault ship was guided well with great riders that most often won. The iconic French team prospered changing names twice; Renault-Gitane (1978-80) & Renault-Elf (1981-85).

In 1978, the team also introduced their new jersey. Journalist’s touted the new design, the wasp-liked jerseys, as eye catching. Their winning ways was certainly an intimidating fear in the peloton. Although Hinault's wasp swarm didn't win the TTT to Caen (finishing in fifth), he won three stages, wore the yellow jersey for three days & importantly claimed his first Tour. The 'sting' was on! 

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