A film about the 1986 Tour de France battle between American cyclist Greg LeMond and French great Bernard Hinault will premiere in New York City on April 20.
The movie, “Slaying the Badger,” will be preceded the same evening by a book signing with the author of the namesake story, Richard Moore, a few blocks away from the Tribeca Film Theatre on West 23rd St.
Bernard Hinault is “Le Blaireau,” the Badger. “Tough as old boots, he is the old warrior of the French peloton, as revered as he is feared for his ferocious attacks. He has won five Tours de France, marking his name into the history books as a member of cycling’s most exclusive club,” writes Moore in his intro to the book.
“Yet as the 1986 Tour de France ascends into the mountains, a boyish and friendly young American named Greg LeMond threatens the Badger—and France’s entire cycling heritage. Known as “L’Américain,” the naïve Tour newcomer rides strongly, unafraid.”
This story unfolds both in Moore’s book, as well as the film version though little is said about the film by its promoters.
Continues Moore: “The stakes are high. Winning for Hinault means capping his long cycling career by becoming the first man to win the Tour six times. For LeMond, a win will bring America its first Tour de France victory. So why does their rivalry shock the world?”
“LeMond and Hinault ride for the same team.”
This type of in team rivalry has played out a half dozen times in the Tour de France, and makes for good drama. It’s similar to the 2009 battle between Astana team mates Lance Armstrong and his fiery younger competitor, Spaniard Alberto Contador. But normally, team mates don’t buck the system, like the way Chris Froome supported team mate Bradley Wiggins in the 2012 Tour, even though it seemed he was capable of wining the Tour himself, which he did the following year when Wiggins didn’t make it to the big race.
Continues Moore: “Asked by a reporter why he attacked his own teammate, the Badger replies, “Because I felt like it.” and “If he doesn’t buckle, that means he’s a champion and deserves to win the race. I did it for his own good.”
LeMond becomes paranoid, taking other riders’ feed bags in the feed zone and blaming crashes on sabotage. Through it all, with the help of his American teammate Andy Hampsten, LeMond rides like a champion and becomes the first American to win the Tour de France.
Author Richard Moore, who used to race on a bicycle himself and represented Scotland in the 1998 Commonwealth games, traces each story line to its source through interviews with LeMond and Hinault in their homes but also with teammates, rivals, race directors, and others who were witness to the historic event.
A freelance journalist and author, Moore’s first book, In Search of Robert Millar, won Best Biography at the 2008 British Sports Book Awards. His second book, Heroes, Villains & Velodromes, was long-listed for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year. He writes on cycling and sport and is a regular contributor to the Guardian, Sky Sports, and The Scotsman.
For the book signing, Richard Moore will be at Rapha Cycle Club New York City, Sunday, April 20, 2014 from 3:00 p.m.-4:30 p.m. at the Rapha Cycle Club New York City, 64 Gansevoort St, New York, NY 10014, a 15-minute walk from the film premiere, (212) 804-5050, www.rapha.cc/nyc
“Slaying the Badger,” World Premiere, Sunday, April 20, 2014 at 5:30 p.m. at the Tribeca Film Festival, SVA Theatre, 333 West 23rd Street, New York, NY, between 8th and 9th Avenues in Chelsea. Tickets available through SVA Theatre.
Additional Tribeca screenings of the movie will be held:
* Wednesday, April 23 at 4:00 p.m., AMC Village VII, 66 Third Avenue at 11th Street, NYC
* Saturday, April 26 at 5:00 p.m., Tribeca Cinemas, 54 Varick Street at Laight Street, NYC