The Tour de France has lost its third former champion in as many months with the death of 1967 winner Roger Pingeon. He died at 77 years old on Sunday.
"He was taken by a heart attack at 4 am this morning," Beaupont mayor Georges Gouly told French news agency AFP.
Frenchman Pingeon won the 1967 Tour and came second to Belgian great Eddy Merckx in 1969, the year he won the Vuelta a Espana.
“He was a man of great humility. This year he was celebrating the 50th anniversary of his triumph,” Gouly said of Pingeon.
The Frenchman won four Tour de France stages over the course of his career, and at the 1969 Vuelta, he won two stages.
On December 30, 2016, Switzerland’s 1950 Tour de France champion Ferdi Kubler died at the age of 97, then on February 7 Roger Walkowiak, the 1956 winner, passed away aged 89.
The deaths of Pingeon, Kubler, and Walkowiak leave 23 surviving winners of cycling’s blue riband, the celebrated group led by 88-year-old Federico Bahamontes, the 1959 champion.