Federico Bahamontes

Federico Bahamontes
Federico Bahamontes (1962).jpg
Bahamontes in 1962
Personal information
Full name Alejandro Martín Bahamontes
Nickname The Eagle of Toledo
Born (1928-07-09) 9 July 1928 (age 92)
Santo Domingo-Caudilla, Spain
Team information
Discipline Road
Role Retired
Rider type Climber
Professional teams
1953–1954 Splendid
1955 Terrot–Hutchinson
1956 Girardengo–ICEP
1957 Mobylette
1958 Faema–Guerra
1959 Tricofilina–Coppi/Kas
1960 Faema
1961 VOV
1962–1965 Margnat–Paloma-Inuri
Major wins
Tour de France
General classification ( 1959)
Mountains classification ( 1954, 1958, 1959, 1962, 1963, 1964)
7 individual stages (1954–1965)

Giro d'Italia

Mountains classification ( 1956)
1 individual stage (1956–1961)

Vuelta a España

Mountains classification ( 1957, 1958)
3 individual stages (1955–1965)

Federico Martín Bahamontes, born Alejandro Martín Bahamontes (pronounced [feðeˈɾiko maɾˈtin βa.a.ˈmon.tes]; born 9 July 1928), is a Spanish former professional road racing cyclist. He is the first cyclist to complete a "career triple" in winning the "King of the Mountains" classification in all three Grand Tours.

Early life

Bahamontes was born in Santo Domingo-Caudilla (Toledo). His family was devastated during the Spanish civil war and Bahamontes' father, Julián, took the family to Madrid as refugees. There Julian Martín lived by breaking rocks before opening a fruit and vegetable stall: "My father was neither a red nor a fascist - he simply didn't like the idea of people coming along and demanding he give away olives, butter and chickens into which he had put too much work, so we left Toledo," Bahamontes said.[1]


He began racing in the late 1940s, winning his first race, wearing a baseball shirt[2] on 18 July 1947. He took the mountains jersey and won the first stage of the 1953 Tour of Asturias at 23, while still not a full professional. The Spanish cycling federation picked him for the 1954 Tour de France the following year and his instructions from the national coach was "Try to win it."[2] He did not win but he did win the mountains competition and finish 25th. He won the Tour de France in 1959, and won the Tour's "King of the Mountains" classification six times (1954, 1958, 1959, 1962, 1963, 1964). He also took second and third places overall in 1963 and 1964 respectively. In total, he won seven Tour stages. He was also second in the 1957 Vuelta a España, and won the mountains competition then and the following year, 1958, when he finished 6th. He also won the mountains competition in the Giro d'Italia in 1956.

In the 1959 Tour de France, Bahamontes benefited from an early escape on a stage in the Pyrenees, and then won a mountain time trial to the Puy-de-Dôme. Into the Alps, he combined with fellow climber Charly Gaul to extend the lead into Grenoble, and although French riders Henry Anglade and Jacques Anquetil cut their deficits, neither made up enough time to threaten Bahamontes' overall lead. He won by just over four minutes from Anglade, and became King of the Mountains too. The French team was unbalanced by internal rivalries. Anglade was unusual in that he was represented by the agent Roger Piel while the others had Daniel Dousset. The two men controlled all French racing.[3]

Bahamontes in 1960

In 1960 Bahamontes got no further than the first few days of the Tour. The writer Roger St Pierre said: "One of the most poignant photographic images in Tour history captured the dejected Spaniard sitting on the platform astride his suitcase, head in hands as he waited for the train to take him back home having abandoned the race before it even really got going."[4] In 1963 and 1964 Anquetil exacted revenge. In the 1963 Tour de France he beat Bahamontes into second place. Bahamontes and Anquetil performed well in the Alps and on one stage were first and second overall, three seconds apart. The Spaniard's efforts to retain his mountains leadership, however, rebounded on him. He was unable to break away from Anquetil on the stage to Chamonix and Anquetil's victory in the time trial sealed his fourth Tour win, with Bahamontes 3:35 behind. Bahamontes insisted he lost the race because of collusion between Anquetil and the Tour organiser, Jacques Goddet. He said: "They gave him (Anquetil) an extra second at the end of stage 17, where he'd got all the peloton to work for him and a motorbike had given him a hand as well. I had the yellow jersey but there was no point continuing to fight even with just four days to go. There was a time trial the following day[5] and I knew the whole thing had been set up against me."[2]

A year later, in the 1964 Tour de France Anquetil took his fifth victory and the margin over Bahamontes in third was 4:44; Raymond Poulidor took second place. Bahamontes at least had the satisfaction of his sixth King of the Mountains win and two more stage wins (bringing his total Tour de France stage wins to seven). Bahamontes' Tour in 1965 marked the end of his career. He finished the day to Bagnères de Bigorre, at the foot of the Tourmalet, only just inside the time limit. He tried an attack on the col du Portet d'Aspet next day and then climbed out of the saddle and out of the Tour de France forever.

Monument of Federico Bahamontes in Toledo (Spain) donated by Fundación Soliss


Bahamontes in his bicycle shop in Toledo in 2005

Bahamontes retired to run a bicycle and motorcycle shop in Toledo. There he receives letters every week, some addressed to "F. Bahamontes, Spain" and sometimes to his name and with a picture of an eagle.[2] He is mentioned in the French film Le Fabuleux Déstin d'Amélie Poulain, known in English as Amélie. Amélie discovers in her flat a small box of toys and souvenirs, hidden years before by a previous resident. She searches and finds the box's owner - now a middle-aged man - who is reminded by its trinkets of a time in boyhood when he listened by radio to Bahamontes' ride to victory in the 1959 Tour de France.

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, ahead of French rider Richard Virenque, by a prestigious jury selected by L' Équipe Magazine.[6][7][8][9][10] 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.[8][10] The award was given by the French President François Hollande.[10] Also, he has been honored with the Premio Nacional Francisco Fernández Ochoa.[11]

Career achievements

Major results


1st Overall Tour d'Ávila
1st MaillotEspaña.PNG Amateur National Road Race Championship
1st Overall Tour d'Ávila
1st Vuelta a Albacete
1st Circuit Sardiniero
2nd Trofeo Jaumendreu
8th Overall Volta a Catalunya
Tour de France
1st Mountains classification
1st Nice–Mont Agel
3rd Overall Tour de Majorque
1st Stage 3a
2nd Overall Grand Prix Eibar
1st Clasica a los Puertos de Guadarrama
1st Monaco–Golf du Mont Agel
1st Mont Faron hill climb
1st Overall Vuelta a Asturias
1st Stage 6
1st Overall Tour de Los Portos
1st Stage 2 Grand Prix Eibar
5th Overall Volta a Catalunya
1st Stages 6 & 9
1st Mountains classification Giro d'Italia (shared)
2nd Mont Faron hill climb
4th Overall Tour de France
4th Overall Vuelta a España
1st Overall Vuelta a Asturias
1st Stage 1
1st Mont Faron hill climb
2nd Overall Vuelta a España
1st Mountains classification
1st Stage 3
1st Grand Prix
5th Overall Tour du Levant
1st Stage 3b
10th Overall Volta a Catalunya
Giro d'Italia
1st Stage 4
1st MaillotEspaña.PNG National Road Race Championship
1st MaillotEspaña.PNG National Time Trial Championship
6th Overall Vuelta a España
1st Mountains classification
8th Overall Tour de France
1st Stages 14 and 20
1st Mountains classification
1st Subida a Arrate
1st Jersey yellow.svg Overall Tour de France
1st Mountains classification
1st Stage 15
1st Stage 4 Vuelta a España
1st Subida a Arrate
1st MaillotEspaña.PNG National Hill Climb Championship
3rd Overall Tour de Suisse
1st Stages 3 & 5
1st Stage 13 Vuelta a España
1st Subida a Arrate
1st Overall Grand Prix de Pliego
1st 2 stages
1st Subida a Arrate
1st Nice–Golf du Mont Agel
1st Monaco–Golf du Mont Agel
1st Stage 4 Giro di Sardegna
2nd Mont Faron hill climb
Tour de France
1st Mountains classification
1st Stage 13
1st Mont Faron road race
1st Mont Faron hill climb
1st Subida a Arrate
1st Nice–Golf du Mont Agel
1st Monaco–Golf du Mont Agel
4th Overall Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré
5th Overall Tour de Luxembourg
7th Overall Tour de Romandie
1st Stage 3
1st Mont Faron hill climb
2nd Overall Tour de France
1st Mountains classification
1st Stage 15
2nd Overall Tour de Romandie
2nd Subida a Arrate
4th Overall Grand Prix du Midi Libre
5th Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré
1st Mountains classification
1st Escalada a Montjuïc
1st Mont Faron road race
1st Mont Faron hill climb
1st Subida al Naranco
1st Six Days of Madrid (with Rik Van Steenbergen)
3rd Overall Tour de France
1st Mountains classification
1st Stages 8 & 16
6th Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré
1st Circuit du Provençal
1st Escalada a Montjuïc
2nd Subida a Arrate
3rd Subida a Urkiola
10th Overall Vuelta a España

Grand Tour general classification results timeline

Grand Tour 1954 1955 1956 1957 1958 1959 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965
A gold jersey Vuelta a España N/A 21 4 2 6 DNF DNF 10
A pink jersey Giro d'Italia DNF 17 DNF
A yellow jersey Tour de France 25 4 DNF 8 1 DNF 14 2 3 DNF
Did not compete
DNF Did not finish

See also


  1. ^ Unidentified cutting, UK
  2. ^ a b c d Cycle Sport, UK, August 1998
  3. ^ Dousset-Piel, l'Age de Bronze, Vélo, France November 2005
  4. ^ Cycling Plus, UK, undated cutting
  5. ^ Anquetil was far the superior rider against the clock
  6. ^ "Bahamontes : "Ce prix est mérité"". L'Equipe (in French). 28 June 2013. Retrieved 15 February 2019.
  7. ^ EFE (28 June 2013). "Bahamontes, elegido mejor escalador de la historia del Tour por 'L'Equipe'". RTVE.es (in Spanish). Retrieved 15 February 2019.
  8. ^ a b Bermejo, Chema (21 July 2016). "Bahamontes, mejor escalador de la historia del Tour de Francia". Diario AS. Retrieved 15 February 2019.
  9. ^ Ezquerro, J.A. (7 July 2013). "Bahamontes: "Ya quisieran los franceses un ciclista como yo"". Diario AS (in Spanish). Retrieved 15 February 2019.
  10. ^ a b c Urraburu, Benito (7 July 2013). "Bahamontes, el mejor escalador". Diario Vasco (in Spanish). Vocento. Retrieved 15 February 2019.
  11. ^ Cardenal Carro, Miguel (7 November 2014). "Resolución de 23 de octubre de 2014, de la Presidencia del Consejo Superior de Deportes, por la que se otorgan los Premios Nacionales del Deporte correspondientes al año 2013". Boletín Oficial del Estado (in Spanish). Ministerio de Educación, Cultura y Deporte (270): 92166. ISSN 0212-033X.
  12. ^ "Federico Bahamontes". Cycling Archives. Retrieved 27 September 2017.
  13. ^ "Palmarès de Federico Bahamontes (Esp)". Mémoire du cyclisme (in French). Retrieved 27 September 2017.

Further reading

External links