Five times Tour de France winner Bernard Hinault (Pictured left.) was recently answering questions at a presentation in Montereau.
Hinault's comments were published in Velo-News, and he had this to say about Lance Armstrong’s chances in the Tour de France:
"I hope he will not be there. Is he afraid of France? Nobody forced him to come; he only has to stay at home. He cannot win the Tour. I hope Contador gives him a beating."
Lance immediately fired off a response on Twitter.
"What a wanker. Five Tour de France wins doesn't buy you any common sense."
This counter attack by Armstrong brought him support from some quarters, but also a large amount of criticism. Many said that Hinault was entitled to his opinion and didn’t deserve to be labeled a “Wanker” (Loser.) for expressing it.
My feelings were Bernard Hinault has always been known for speaking his mind, often in a negative manner. Lance Armstrong would have gained more respect by not following his lead.
A better approach might have been to say something like, “Bernard Hinault does not think I have a chance in the TDF.” Placed a link to the article, and left it at that.
Lance Armstrong fans would have immediately rallied to his defense, and at the same time his critics could not have faulted him. It would have been a win win for Lance.
Hinault has won the Tour five times, but Armstrong won it seven. Lance does not have to defend his abilities as a cyclist to anyone, even Bernard Hinault. But Lance Armstrong does not do himself any favors by referring to another former world class athlete as a “Wanker.”
There is a lesson to be learned here and one that I should pay attention to; I have not been above ranting here when I have felt I was criticized unfairly.
Ever since human kind learned to communicate with speech, man has opened his mouth and put his foot in it.
With today’s technology, email, blogs and Twitter, we can now put our foot in it globally. We all need to think before we hit send.