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Hinault refuses to keep mouth shut over Froome case and changing sport

Five-time Tour champ Bernard Hinault has been one of Chris Froome's toughest critics, and it seems that won't change soon.

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FLORENCE, Italy (VN) — Former French cycling great Bernard Hinault says he will not stop speaking out about the Chris Froome case or the changing sport.

The five-time Tour de France winner blasted Chris Froome over his asthma drug case stemming from the 2017 Vuelta a España. The UCI, however, dropped the case against Froome because he showed his levels fluctuated within a reasonable range.

“My mouth, I will never close it,” Hinault told Le Parisien. “When I have something to say, I say it.”

Hinault had called on the riders to strike against Froome racing the Tour de France. He said that Froome does not have a place in cycling. Froome replied later, “I imagine with age sometimes your wires get a little bit crossed.”

“Froome spoke recently about my age after all my statements about him,” continued Hinault this week.

“I may be an old fool but I see things. When you see parents at the start of a race, giving Ventoline [asthma drug Salbutamol] to children who are not asthmatic, it drives me crazy.”

Froome said before that he is a long-time asthma sufferer and has treated his symptoms for 10 years. At the Vuelta, he had tested over the limit for Salbutamol on stage 18.

Hinault raced through the 1970s and 1980s. He won three editions of the Giro d’Italia, twice the Vuelta a España, and five times the Tour.

“You will still say that I am an old fool, but I know the history of cycling,” he continued.

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“I don’t know if the kids would listen to me more or not, but I can tell you that I would have a lot of things to say to some. I could give ideas to many. I would not talk about watts or power, but I would repeat this: ‘Learn your body.’

“There are some guys who are not very well-positioned on the bike. I see guys who calculate watts, but they make huge mistakes in the wind. Oh, guys, think!”

‘The Badger’ worked with Tour organizer ASO until retiring last year. At the 2018 Tour, won by Froome’s teammate Geraint Thomas, Hinault only attended three stages. He said he has trouble recognizing the sport.

“At least at the buses. There are riders who stay on the bus and leave at the last moment without speaking to the public. No more exchange [with fans], but it’s their life, not mine,” continued Hinault.

“Now, at the end of the races, it’s like football: corridors, buses, and tinted windows. They stay in their bubble.”