Bernard Hinault “Attack of the Badger” – 1979 Tour de France, Limited Edition of 500

$150.00

Attack of the Bader, Signed Lithograph
1979 Tour de France, Hinault in his legendary Renault Team Jersey

Bernard Hinault’s early training partners nicknamed the young rider “le Blaireau” or “The Badger” in English to tease the young rider. It stuck when somebody used the nickname in front of a writer from the French newspaper l’Equipe. Hinault embraced the name and commented in 2003, “A badger is a beautiful thing. When it’s hunted, it goes into its sett and waits. When it comes out again, it attacks. That’s the reason for my nickname. When I’m annoyed I go home, you don’t see me for a month. When I come out again, I win.”

Photo by Tonny Strouken
The Attack of the Badger, as we are calling it, was taken by famed Dutch photographer Tonny Strouken. This photo captures Bernard Hinault, aka The Badger, in full attack mode at the 1979 Tour de France. The iconic intensity of Hinault is in full view as he marches on his way to what will ultimately be his second of five overall Tour de France victories.

Each Litho is signed at the lower right by Tonny.

For 30+ years, Tonny was one of the best cycling photographers in the business. His photos have been published in magazines, books, and newspapers worldwide. We are taking it as our mission to ensure cycling fans outside of Europe learn more about Tonny. His style harkens back to the 1920s and is updated to reflect the shooting capabilities of contemporary cameras. He was a master at capturing crucial moments in race history. He was among the few cycling photographers who captured the rider’s soul. We have seen a fair amount of Tonny’s work, and it is breathtaking.

Each lithograph has been personally signed by both Bernard Hinault and Tonny Strouken and comes with a certificate of authenticity from The Horton Collection.

Printed by AMP in Dublin, CA, on 140-pound Mohawk paper with beautiful deboss/emboss detailing.

Size: 20 x 24 inches

See important information in the detailed product description area below.

SKU: HSLS- 101 Categories: , Tag:

Description

At Home With The Badger, By Brett Horton

About 10 years ago, my wife Shelly and I started caring less about “things” to add to our collection and instead began to really absorb the experiences we were having. Sadly, it took the passing of some legendary cyclists to wake us up to the fact we were having the ride of our lives and we had better focus attention on what really mattered. Our 30-plus years of actively collecting the tangible history of cycling have allowed us to develop many wonderful friendships. Don’t get me wrong, obtaining a jersey or trophy from a legendary rider is really cool. But I’m seeing what is even more awesome is learning more about these icons on a human level: meeting their families, staying at their homes, understanding their childhood roots to the sport.

Bernard & Brett in Britanny. Say that fast 5 times!

In November 2019, I was fortunate to have one of the most memorable experiences of my life. I arranged to spend five days in the Brittany region of France to visit with Bernard Hinault and do a little sightseeing. Bernard had agreed to sign and personalize the new lithograph series we recently released.

I’ve met Bernard a number of times over the years at ASO races. My interactions were generally little more than a smile and perfunctory handshake in the invited guest area. I knew this trip was going to change that dynamic. Right or wrong, Bernard has a bit of a media-supported irascible reputation, so I found myself second-guessing my decision to do this signing. There I sat, driving south from Belgium late at night, rental car loaded down with more than 2,000 pounds of lithographs, wondering how this was going to go down.

Proud Young Badger
1972 Junior French National Champion

 Bernard Hinault – 1973
Teenage Badger Learning To Hunt Victories

The next morning my intrepid interpreter and esteemed cycling journalist, Jean Vantalon, and I arrived promptly at 10 a.m. as scheduled. Bernard opened the door, and in an instant, any trepidation I had only seconds before was gone. The greeting we received was warm, welcoming, and genuine.

After some pleasantries, we unloaded the car and sat down for the signing. I asked Bernard to take his time and let him know I was more interested in quality than speed. In fact, if we did not finish what I brought, I told him I would be perfectly happy leaving the unsigned lithographs behind. Jean was a lifesaver as the interpreter. Lucky for me, he already knew Bernard quite well, and that went a long way to make the entire visit run smoothly. At the end of the first day, with round one of signings complete, we lingered chatting for a couple of hours at the dining room table while enjoying a bottle of fine whiskey. I must admit it was somewhat surreal.

Over the next few days, I played soccer with Bernard’s young grandsons on the lawn, walked about his farm, met his dog, ate at a few of his favorite restaurants, chatted with his lovely wife Martine, visited his son’s bicycle shop, saw his personal collection of cycling memorabilia and, all in all, got to know him so much better. And, just like we mere mortals, he has a rack near the laundry room loaded down with jerseys, shorts, and socks, drying for the next ride. In his garage hang his bikes—and it is clear that he works on them himself.

1980 Tour de France
Badger in Yellow

On the final day of signing, we spent most of the time chatting about his childhood in Brittany and how he joyfully rides on the same roads today that he did 50 years ago. Bernard talked with impassioned enthusiasm about the happiness that cycling has brought to his life. He then opened a small cardboard box that contained childhood photographs. My level of fanboy geek went through the roof. I had never seen images of Bernard as a kid, and I loved his self-deprecating descriptions of himself as a schoolboy and surly teenager. He then pulled out three original photographs of him from his junior/amateur days. He handed them to me so I could get a better look. When I attempted to give them back, he told me to keep them.

After receiving his assurance, I took the photos, and we started to pack the final signed lithographs into my car for the drive back to Belgium. After taking the winding road from his farm, down the main road, and onto the open highway, it started to sink in: I had just had five of the happiest cycling-related days of my life. Bernard went out of his way to accommodate every request I made. Heavens, he even hopped up from the table each time we completed a box of lithographs to help seal the box for its trip back to San Francisco.

Bernard’s reputation as Le Blaireau (“The Badger”) is well documented. Many of the other iconic riders I’ve met have similar traits that I can broadly define as focused and insanely competitive, accompanied by an acute inability to willingly accept defeat in the heat of the moment. The Bernard Hinault of today, however, could not be farther from his reputation as a rider. Simply stated, he is a wonderfully content farmer in Brittany. He has a warm smile and, while quietly confident in his achievements as a cyclist, clearly puts the love and accomplishments of his family far above anything he ever did on a bike. He has a keen palate for whiskey, remains a steadfast fan of the sport, can dispatch a wild pig that has wandered onto his property with the skill of a marksman, and, above all, is a happy grandfather. His being radiates a life well-lived. Me? I spent five days with Le Blaireau. I am one lucky kid!

Bernard descending on a road near his home in 1973, the same road he enjoys riding on to this day.
(The three photos of Bernard as a teenager were the ones given to Brett by Bernard.)

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Print Quality: It’s all about the Press, Paper, and Deboss/Emboss

The Press

The print masters at AMP in Dublin, California, printed this otherwise micro-run on their Heidelberg Speedmaster press. This is an end-of-the-rainbow press that is about 100 feet in length from where the blank paper enters to where it comes out in all its radiant printed glory.

The Paper

We used 140-pound Mohawk brand paper. This excellent stock has a beautiful, toothy feel that reeks of luxury. We would have to ship the prints flat if the paper were any thicker.

Deboss/Emboss

We had excellent paper, stunning images, and a phenomenal press. We wanted more. We felt we were at the precipice of perfection but needed to go further. We can’t recall whose idea it was, but we knew that was our missing link when the deboss/emboss idea emerged. This process includes multi-stage custom handmade dies, hyper-specialized machinery, and an ocean of patience to execute correctly; this alone is the pièce de résistance that elevated this endeavor to art.

The debossed and embossed print has a beautiful finished look, ready to go straight into a frame. No mats are needed.

Additional information

Weight 3 lbs
Color

Silver Signature, Gold Signature