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Federico Bahamontes the “Eagle of Toledo”

Spanish cyclist Federico Bahamontes is seen while ascending the 2500 m high Mt. Galibier during the 19. stage of the Tour de France on July 28, 1954. (AP Photo/Str) --- Der Spanier Federico Bahamontes beim Bezwingen des rund 2500m hohen Galibier auf der 19. Etappe der Tour de France, am 28. Juli 1954. (AP/Str)

A belated happy birthday to Federico Bahamontes, who was born on July 9, 1928.

Nicknamed the “Eagle of Toledo” for his climbing prowess, Bahamontes was one of the most consistent climbers in the history of the Grand Tours.

He was also the first rider to win six Mountains Jersey competitions in the Tour de France, and the first rider to win the Mountains Jersey in all three Grand Tours.

Bahamontes first and only Grand Tour victory came in 1959, when he won the Tour de France ahead of Henri Anglade and Jacques Anquetil of France.

Previously, the Spanish rider finished second in the 1954 and 1957 Vuelta a Espana, followed by two podium finishes in the 1963 and 1964 Tour de France behind Jacques Anquetil and Raymond Poulidor of France.

In addition, Bahamontes shared the Mountains Jersey prize with Charly Gaul of Luxembourg and M. Del Rio of Italy in the 1956 Giro d’Italia.

In the seven French Grand Tours he raced in, Bahamontes won the mountains jersey every year but one.

But, perhaps Bahamontes most memorable moment was, when he destroyed the competition on one of the major climbs in the 1954 Tour de France, and then stopped for ice cream and waited for his competitors.

Bahamontes raced his last Tour de France in 1964, finishing in 3rd place before retiring from racing at age 36.

In 2013, during his 85th birthday that coincided with the 100th edition of Le Tour de France, he was named the best climber in the history of the race by a prestigious jury selected by L’ Équipe Magazine. Members of the jury included actual riders, such as the popular French rider Thomas Voeckler, and legends like five-time winner of the race Bernard Hinault, as well as the general director of Le Tour de France Christian Prudhomme. The award was given by the French President François Hollande.

Feliz cumpleaños Federico!

16 Jul 1956, Between Bayonne and Pau, France --- During the 11th stage of the 1956 Tour de France between Bayonne and Pau. Spanish cyclist Federico Bahamontes, known as The Eagle of Toledo, races during the Aubisque ascent. --- Image by © Universal/TempSport/Corbis

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