1954 Tour de France
In this photo, we see Bahamontes at the side of a dirt road as the mechanics attend to his bike. Of the hundreds of original Bahamontes photographs and negatives we have in our collection, we always come back to this one as being amongst our very favorite images of him. What could at first glance be dismissed as a simple race repair documentary photo is much more complex and quite well composed. The mechanics have hurried and focused expressions both on their faces as well as their body language. The gendarme smiling as he holds the star rider’s bicycle. The small group of fans intently watching the action from the top of the hillside. And then there is Bahamontes: he seems perfectly composed, simply waiting for the repair to be completed so he can move on!
The “Eagle of Toledo” was an extremely talented climber, who in addition to winning the Tour de France in 1959, also won the King of the Mountains at the Tour six times: 1954, 1958, 1959, 1962, 1963, and 1964. His King of the Mountains dominance was also shown as he won that category at the Giro in 1956 and the Vuelta in 1957 and 1958. In the twelve-year span that he rode the grand tours, he won a total of 11 stages. Although a great climber, he had a reputation of being mediocre on the descents. Stories abound about how he would be the first to the summit of a climb, only to wait for other riders so he did not descend alone. In retirement, he opened a bicycle and motorcycle shop in his hometown of Toledo.
Despite our efforts to find the name of the photographer of this image, it currently remains a mystery. As was common practice at the time, original photographs often had no reference as to the name of the photographer. Rather, there were crop marks and other notations written on the back of the original photograph that was used in the print publication process. As always, we welcome any knowledge regarding the awesome photographers that so deftly captured and continue to capture the vibrant landscape of cycling.
Litho Size: 8 in. x 10 in.