Like fellow multiple Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong, Bernard Hinault has thrown his weight be
The Paris bid for the 2012 Olympic Games received an unexpected fillip yesterday. While the sun shone on Paris-Nice, Bernard Hinault temporarily quit his post as director of ‘Exterior Relations’ on the ASO event to make a flying visit to Paris to press the flesh with the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) bid evaluation team. The IOC evaluation committee has been in Paris this week – including during Thursday’s general strike – assessing the French capital’s qualities to host the 2012 Games. To date, Paris has been widely seen as the front-runner among the short-listed cities of London, Moscow, New York and Madrid. All five candidates have wheeled out former sports stars and celebrities in search of high-profile endorsements. Only this week, the American press turned on six-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong after he boosted the hopes of Paris with a statement of support that was seen by some across the Atlantic to undermine and even “betray” New York’s hopes. Yesterday, it was the turn of Hinault, another legendary serial winner of the Tour de France of course, to push the Paris campaign. The evaluation committee’s president, Los Angeles Olympic gold medallist, Nawal el-Moutawakil, was thrilled to meet her “hero”, Hinault. The pair spent several moments deep in conversation and were happy to be photographed together. “She said that I was her hero, but I was a bit surprised,” smiled Hinault. “I didn’t know that she was a big fan of cycling.” A big fan of Hinault, maybe, but also now a big fan of Paris.? “Let’s hope so – we’ll see,” said Hinault, hero of the hour in Paris once more, 20 years after he last won the Tour de France.