SPAIN is in mourning after the death of Federico Martin Bahamontes, the first Spanish cyclist to win the Tour De France in 1959.
Toledo mayor Carlos Velázquez confirmed news of Bahmontes´ passing today in a tweet this morning.
He wrote: “With deep regret, we mourn the loss of Federico Martín Bahamontes, the Eagle of Toledo, a benchmark of the sport that has brought the name of our city to the top.”
He announced the city will pay tribute to the cyclist with two days of official mourning.
As well as being on the Tour de France podium three times Bahamontes won 11 Grand Tour Stages.
In total he had 74 victories before retiring aged 37 and opening his own bike shop in Toledo.
Emotional tributes continue to come in on Twitter, with the offical Tour de France Twitter feed expressing their ´deep sadness´.
“It is with deep sadness that we learn of the passing of Fedrico Bahmontes, winner of the 1959 Tour de France. Aged 95, the eagle of Toledo was the oldest Tour de France winner, the first Spanish winner, and the six-time winner of the Mountain classification. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and freinds at this very difficult time”.
Former cyclist, Eduardo Chozas shared he was an ´idol of the masses, a genius, an example`.
“We have lost a great, genius and figure, he triumphed in the post-war era, when hunger and needs were ahead of playing sports. He opened the doors of the world to us with his triumph in the 1959 Tour, he was an idol of the masses, a genius, an example”.
Cyclist, Alejandro Valverde remembers Bahamontes as ´one of the best climbers in history`.
“My respect and admiration to Federico Martín Bahamontes, one of the first references in Spanish cycling. Hugs to family and freinds after the loss of one of the best climbers in history. Rest in peace”.
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