The Swiss cyclist Ferdi Kübler who was the oldest living Tour de France winner passed away in a Zurich hospital on Thursday at the age of 97.

Kübler who was known as “the cowboy” because of his penchant for Stetson hats won the Tour de France in 1950 and the following year, went on to become World Road Race champion. He started racing professionally in 1940, but was limited as to where he could race during those early years due to the Nazi occupation of much of Europe.

He went on to build up an incredible palmares during his career and in addition to his Tour and Worlds wins also won eight stages of the Tour de France, and won the Ardennes double of Liège–Bastogne–Liège and La Flèche Wallonne on two occasions (1951, 1952).

Amongst other wins he took were the Tour de Suisse (1942, 1948, 1951), Tour de Romandie (1948, 1951), Milan-Turin (1956) and Bordeaux-Paris (1953).

In the 1950 Tour, he took advantage of the absence of Fausto Coppi, who had crashed in the Giro d’Italia. His nearest challenger was Gino Bartali who finished nine minutes behind.

Kübler was also remembered for his rivalry with fellow Swiss rider Hugo Koblet, winner of the Tour in 1951. He retired in 1957 at the age of 38, and in 1983, he was voted “Sportsman of the Century” in Switzerland.


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