For the Puy de Dome, the peak where Bahamontes won its only stage of the 1959 Tour, cyclists no longer pass. Now it is private territory, with restricted access, with a very dangerous descent, also, for adventurers who could dare to climb it by bicycle. It is as if that volcano of the French Central Massif did not exist where Federico Martín Bahamontes won the individual time trial, an ideal time trial for his legs. But everything is in the memory of the first Spaniard to win the Tour. 60 years have passed and Bahamontes has just turned 91 (July 9, 1928), but in his head that 1959 Tour is still alive. And what came next. Like the multitudinous reception in Toledo. "It took me five hours to get there," he recalls. "Neither Franco nor the Pope have had such a reception," he says. "People wore yellow ties to celebrate it, which looked like Catalonia now," he says. Or as the reception with Franco in the Palace of El Pardo. «I was very nervous», he confesses. "He started talking about sports and he knew a lot. He spoke to me of many names, but I said to him: '' Majesty, I am cycling yes, but about the rest … '' ', he recalls. «Those people know a lot. Years later, I had the same with Pujol, "he says.
In the head of Bahamontes memories are crossed with the same speed with which he climbed the peaks of the Alps. It was July 18 when Fede came dressed in yellow in Paris. The first time in 20 years that all Spaniards could celebrate the same on that date. Because Bahamontes belonged to everyone, a cyclist from the town who had gone hungry like many compatriots of the time and with legs as sharp as his tongue.
It's been 60 years, but he still remembers the conditions he set for running the Tour, which was then run by national teams. "Loroño or I," he told the coach, Dalmacio Langarica, a phrase that has been repeating with pride for 60 years. Loroño was his great rival, he had won the Vuelta two years before, a race that Federico never managed to win. "Why Indurain, who has won Tours, and Bahamontes have not won the Tour?" He asks. "For something," he answers with the assurance of someone who knows something that others do not.
He never won the Vuelta, which he retired that year because of an anthrax in his leg. "I left in the Vuelta a España because I got an anthrax because they closed the control, I closed it and I do not know if the tantrum I got …", recalls. Al Tour came short preparation and without much desire. «Coppi sent me to the Tour of Switzerland. But if I have not trained, "Federico still laments, who then ran in the Italian champion's Tricofilina. But lHe spent two months without charging on the team, like his teammates. "Coppi gave us up for the races, just like he did after the Tour. But the one who charged was him », explains Fede, who has not lost the desire to talk over the years. For him it was "only" the million two hundred thousand pesetas that he won for the triumph in the Tour and for the jersey of the mountain and that he shared with his companions in equal parts.
In the Puy de Dome, in that time trial that won, was where he cemented his triumph, although he did not wear yellow until two days later in the stage that ended in Grenoble. That was where he could distance Anglade, the French champion and his great rival. And to Anquetil, the French idol. «Now in the mountain they give bonus, before they removed it so that neither Charly Gaul nor I won. They looked for the means of not favoring at all those of the mountain, explains. Anquetil, who won five Tours, did it especially for his dominance against the clock.
"Now there is no show, but the fault lies with the cyclists," laments Fede. "Then it happened like in boxing, that they give each other their hosts and then they hug each other," he says. He stuck on the road with his rivals, especially with Charly Gaul, his great competitor on the mountain. But then they got together to eat. «On the days of rest we all went to the country, Gaul, Koblet, Kubler … Everyone took theirs and we took the shotguns to have fun», account. The field is one of the passions that he has not abandoned. He attends La Razón from his farm in the outskirts of Toledo, although he does not work anymore. Of the olive trees that he has planted, he produces oil for the whole year. "You have to be in everything," he says.
(tagsToTranslate) domingo garcía