Federico Martín Bahamontes, also known as the “Eagle of Toledo,” was the first Spanish cyclist to win the Tour de France back in 1959. He used to be simply the best in the mountain stages, favored by his great resilience and stamina and his daring and unpredictable style. He was so good that during the 100th edition of the Tour de France, he received a tribute in which he was officially named the best mountain climber in the competition’s history.
Born in Santo Domingo-Caudilla in 1928, Bahamontes bought his first bike when he was 18. He didn’t have racing in mind when he first bought it—instead, he used the bicycle to smuggle food between villages. (Famine plagued many parts of Spain in the years after World War II, and there was a high demand for food beyond the meager rations provided by the government.) But in 1947, Bahamontes competed in his first race in a neighboring village. He came in second place.
After that he started entering—and winning—more races and tournaments. In 1953, he started racing as a professional. Bahamontes won the Tour de France once, but he also came second in 1963 and third in 1964. He won seven stages during the years he took part in the French competition. Funnily enough, he never managed to win the Vuelta a España (though he finished second in 1957).
After Bahamontes retired from cycling he opened a bike shop in the center of Toledo, where he lived until 2004 when he decided to close the shop. After the 2020 pandemic, he moved to the village of Villanueva de San Mancio (Valladolid). Bahamontes died in August 2023 at 95 years old.
Before his death, the city of Toledo commissioned Valencian sculptor Javier Molina Gil to create this statue of the famous cyclist. Bahamontes himself chose the location and wholly embraced the idea behind the homage. The statue was unveiled in May 2018.
Know Before You Go
Locate 13 Venancio González street, the area is known as "subida al Miradero de Toledo", the statue will be right in front of you with an impressive view of Toledo behind it.