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Ferdy Kübler Oldest Tour de France winner dies

Kübler reminiscing about his exploits in 1999

(Keystone)

Ferdinand ‘Ferdy’ Kübler, the first Swiss to win the Tour de France had died at the age of 97. He was the oldest living overall winner of the most famous cycling road race. 

The cycling legend, who was named the "Swiss sportsperson of the century" in 1983,  died in a Zurich hospital on Thursday. He was admitted on account of a severe cold. 

Kübler entered professional cycling in 1940 but took a while to reach elite status. He won the Tour de France in 1950 at the age of 31 and the World Road Race a year later. A native of Marthalen in canton Zurich, he won the Tour de Suisse three times – 1942, 1948 and 1951. 

According to him, his greatest regret was not winning the Tour de France in 1949. His bike tyre got punctured while he was in the lead. He had to wait 20 minutes until a rescue vehicle turned up because his own vehicle had met with an accident. 

He had rivalry going on with fellow Swiss Hugo Koblet, who became the first non-Italian to win the Giro d’Italia in 1950 and went on to win the Tour de France the year after Kübler’s victory. Kübler and Koblet remain the only Swiss to have won the world-famous French road race.

Kübler retired from cycling in 1957. The mantle of the oldest living Tour de France winner now passes to Frenchman Roger Walkowiak, who won the race in 1956. He is 89 years old.

swissinfo.ch

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