Federico Martín Bahamontes, the Eagle of Toledo, dies at 95 years of age

Road 08/08/23 09:18 Migue A.

The mayor of the capital of La Mancha announces with a heartfelt post on social networks the death of the cycling legend, the oldest Tour de France winner still alive and the first Spaniard to win the prized yellow jersey of the French race in 1959. May he rest in peace.

Cycling mourns the death of Federico Martín Bahamontes

Full of character, grumpy, a bit of a cocky, but also an endearing personality. Genius and star. This is how we remember Federico Martín Bahamontes, the Eagle of Toledo, who was not called Federico but Alejandro, although the insistence of his uncle to call him this way made him be known by this name in the end.

Born in 1928 in the small town of Val de Santo Domingo, Bahamontes became the first great Spanish cyclist in history.

With a tremendously thin physique, Bahamontes was the prototypical climber, attacking the climbs with an agility of pedaling unusual in the cycling of those times and the developments with which the bikes of that time were equipped. A talent for climbing that led him to win the Tour de France mountain jersey no less than 6 times.

From that facility for climbing comes the famous anecdote of the ice cream. In the 1954 Tour, a stage between Lyon and Grenoble, he was escaping with two Frenchmen when some stones broke several spokes of a wheel on the approach to the pass of La Romèyre. After loosening the brakes to avoid the friction, Bahamontes attacked and rode solo to the summit. Once there, faced with the danger of descending with the wheel in that state, he stopped to wait for his team car and, without hesitation, approached an ice-cream man there to ask for a cone with two ice creams.

However, the fact of fighting every season for the mountains jersey of the Tour de France, limited for years his real chances of taking the overall victory in the race. It had to be another legend, the Campionissimo Fausto Coppi who, after signing the Toledano for his Coppi-Tricofilina team, convinced the Eagle of Toledo not to waste his strength in the fight for the mountains and to focus on the general classification, which he would end up winning in 1959.

From that time it is remembered his tremendous rivalry with Jesús Loroño that at the time already divided the fans between the supporters of one or the other cyclist, a rivalry that even went beyond the sporting and became a personal matter.

After his retirement, Bahamontes ran a bike store in Toledo, which remained open until 2004, in addition to creating and directing La Vuelta Ciclista a Toledo, which was held until 2015. However, it would not be until 2018 when the city of La Mancha would pay tribute to him by unveiling a statue in his honor in an event attended by Miguel Indurain, Pedro Delgado and Carlos Sastre, also winners of the Tour de France.



Subscribe to our newsletter and receive all our news. Mountain bike, advice on training and maintenance of your bike, mechanics, interviews ...

You will be aware of everything!

¿Prefieres leer la versión en Español?

Muere Federico Martín Bahamontes, el Aguila de Toledo, a los 95 años