Tag Archives: Col du Télégraphe

Attack On The Galibier


In 1954, Federico Bahamontes came to his first Tour de France. He was excited and all he wanted was to attack in the mountains. This was not without a reason. He showed in his first Tour de France that he was the best climber of the peloton. As soon as the riders started to climb, Bahamontes placed an attack and was gone. You would think that this would lead to a lot of stage wins, but that did not happen. Bahamontes was scared of the descents and would usually wait for the other riders as soon as he arrived on the top of a mountain. The Galibier was one of the last mountains to be climbed in this Tour de France. Bahamontes passed the top as the first rider, but waited. As always. Still, he had proven that he was the best climber and went home with the polka dot jersey.

How different it was ten years later. In the year 1964, Bahamontes was one of the most experienced riders in the peloton. In the ten years as a professional rider he had learned to descent, to think before he attacked and to take a chance whenever possible. He won multiple Tour stages and won the general classification in 1959 and became the first Spaniard to win the Tour de France. Still, he was in love with the mountains and was always pleased to ride in the Pyrenees. Nevertheless, on of his most impressive wins was in the Alps.

It was on the 29th of June, stage eight. Bahamontes placed an attack on the Col du Télégraphe. There were no other riders in his wheel. He was eager to win the mountain classification for the sixth time in his career and although he knew that there were young talents in the peloton (Simpson, Janssen, Altig, Poulidor), he also knew that he still had the legs to beat them. But he wasn’t completely sure of himself, so he went up the Col du Galibier really fast and on the top he had a difference of more than three minutes on the following group. He was safe and, unlike ten years before, he did not wait and went solo to the finish in Briançon. It is one of the great wins of Bahamontes. He won another stage in the Pyrenees and became first in the mountain classification. He took the polka dot jersey home for the sixth and last time. That record still stands until today.

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