Five-time Tour winner complains annually about the lack of attacks on Lance Armstrong, and he believ
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Five-time Tour winner and ace aggressor Bernard Hinault appeared unimpressed with the attack which took Alexandre Vinokourov 19 seconds closer to Lance Armstrong and into third place in general classification on Thursday evening.
Speaking to procycling shortly after a dramatic conclusion to stage 6 in Nancy, ‘the Badger’ seemed to be of the opinion that the Kazakh’s surprise move 2km from the finish-line was too little, too late.
“Of course you have to try to attack Armstrong, but not at the end of a stage,” sniffed Hinault. “You can’t win the Tour by taking five or 10 seconds in the last kilometres and a few bonus seconds.
“The only way T-Mobile can beat Armstrong is by attacking him as a threesome – Vinokourov, Klden and Ullrich. Individually, no one in this race can beat Armstrong. But if the three T-Mobile leaders pool their forces they might be able to crack Armstrong’s team and isolate him.
“By pooling their forces, I mean one attacking one day and another the next; or attacking one after another on the same stage; or maybe all three together. That’s for them and their team manager to decide. But, frankly, the only real advantage of attacking like Vino did today is that you stay out of trouble when it’s a dangerous finish.”
Later, Hinault, a stage winner on every terrain in his eight-year, five-Tour reign – including on the Champs Elyses in 1982 – bemoaned the lack of enterprise shown by the pretenders to Armstrong’s throne both in the first week of this Tour and in previous years.
“Nothing ventured, nothing gained should be their motto,” the Frenchman said. “It irritates and bemuses me when so many riders turn up at the Tour saying that they want to finish in the top 10, top five or whatever.
“If you’re a team leader, come here wanting to win or stay at home! Give it a go and if you fall flat on your face, who cares?! If you lose 40 minutes, who cares?! You can try again the next day. At least that way you can say that you tried to beat Armstrong.”