Tour de France

1959 Tour de France - Federico Bahamontes

by Matthias Van Milders on 17 June 2021
"The Eagle of Toledo" was a King of the Mountains winner. Federico Bahamontes scored six wins in the Tour de France climber's classification. No special jersey was handed to him for that achievement. At that time, polka dots were still the sort of the thing you saw on pyjamas and handkerchiefs, not cycling jerseys. But in 1959, the Spaniard was allowed to wear a jersey in Castilla-La Mancha. His Tour de France triumph earned him the yellow jersey. Bahamontes used the rivalry between the French stars. Jacques Anquetil came third, Roger Rivière fourth. Nor was Luxembourg's defending champion Charly Gaul able to create any problems for Bahamontes. The Eagle showed his supremacy in the high-level climbing discipline. His success in the climbing time trial on the Puy de Dôme even won him the hearts of the French public. His nickname? The Spaniard is said to owe his moniker to a spur-of-the-moment stroke of inspiration. A French companion was strolling with Baha through the streets of Toledo, when he spotted an eagle carved into a facade, and then pointed from the petrified animal to the rider....


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