Hinault never tested positive during his career. Not once. I'd say he was a clean rider, and he was most certainly a great rider. I would say second only to Merckx.
I deliberately use the phrase "never tested positive" because we heard it constantly being uttered from 1999 - 2008 ad nauseam. But Hinault raced during a period when amphetamines were pretty widely used and a positive test normally led to a two-week suspension - basically being sent to sit on the silly step. Nobody went to any great lengths to avoid positives because testing was far less complex and frequent than it now so the likelihood of getting caught was slim. Joop Zoetemelk tested positive after the 1979 Tour and got a 10 minute penalty retrospectively - but he kept his second place result! Imagine that these days!
So you were unlikely to get caught and if you did then it wasn't such a big deal. Given that Hinault would have been tested more frequently than most back then, I'd say that there's a strong chance he raced, and won, clean.
The famous duel in the photo shown below didn't even get close to the record for the ascent time for l'Alpe d'Huez at the time - it was a relatively leisurely 48 mins. The likes of Pantani and Armstrong managed it 10 minutes faster, and subsequently we know how and why it was possible to take 20% off the ascent times of two great past champions.
I appreciate that the battle that day was rather tactical and Hinault was getting towards the end of his career, but if he was doping and going all out for the win then you'd expect him to be faster.
(I also appreciate that using performance on one single climb on one day as evidence for a clean career is rather simplistic, to say the least!)
rusty bodie wrote:
My carbon bike is a LeMond, great rider and probably the only clean winner in a very wide date range.
judging by hinault's legs
and his rage
i would say that he was one of the few guys other than lemond that were clean....let's face it, some riders are just born