Federico Martín Bahamontes, the first Spaniard to win the Tour de France, dies | Sports


The Toledo cyclist Federico Martín Bahamontes has died this Tuesday at the age of 95, as confirmed by the mayor of Toledo, Carlos Velázquez, on his social networks. nicknamed the eagle of Toledohas been one of the seven Spanish cyclists who have managed to win the jersey yellow of the Tour de France throughout the history of the gala competition.

Bahamontes was the first Spanish cyclist to arrive in Paris with the yellow jersey, in 1959, but he was also on the podium in 1963 (second) and 1964 (third). In any case, the mountains were his land, as evidenced by the fact that he won the Mountain Grand Prix six times in the French event, as well as twice in the Tour of Spain and once in the Giro d’Italia. In addition, he holds the record of 52 first places in mountain passes in the Tour. He was also famous for escapades, his hallmark. So much so that he was eight days in a row in all the breaks and they gave him the prize for combativeness.

He was born in the Toledo town of Santo Domingo-Caudilla in July 1928, he remained active for 11 years, between 1954 and 1965, a period in which he achieved a total of 74 victories. His fondness for cycling was forged in a Toledo workshop, run by cyclist Moisés Alonso. In addition, he made deliveries, by bike, for various merchants and completed his income with black market (illegal trade in taxed products), also on two wheels, through the steep streets of Toledo, which forged his skills for life. climbing.

Also nicknamed Lettuce, He began as an amateur at the age of 19 and in 1949, he achieved his first victory, in the Luis Guijarro trophy, and in the Vuelta a Ávila. Already in the 50s, he won tests such as the return to Albacete, Malaga or the Castilla championship. In 1954 he turned professional and that year he achieved his first international victory, on the ascent to Mont Angel, in Monaco, and his first Mountain Grand Prix in his Tour debut, which he would repeat in 1958, 1959, 1962, 1963. , and 1964. After abandoning the 1965 edition of the Tour, his last victory took place in the Climbing of Montjuic, in October of that year. In his stage as a professional, in addition to the Tour, he stood on the podium of the Vuelta a España as second in 1957 and won 11 stages (seven in the Tour, three in the Vuelta and one in the Giro).

In May 2018, the city of Toledo paid tribute to its most acclaimed cyclist in an act that featured Miguel Indurain, Carlos Sastre, Óscar Pereiro and Pedro Delgado, all of them winners of the Tour de France. Bahamontes went up from the Paseo de la Vega to the Miradero in a convertible car in order to recall the same journey he took after winning the Tour de France in 1959.

The tour ended at the Miradero, where the sculpture that Javier Molina Gil sculpted for the occasion was discovered and represents the cyclist climbing in a position of maximum effort.

In the tribute, the former cyclist from Toledo was grateful, but criticized the delay in this tribute. “How long it has taken us to be here. More than when I became a boyfriend with Fermina, ”he joked.

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