The Tour de France has lost its third former champion in as many months with the death aged 77 on Sunday of 1967 winner Roger Pingeon.

Pingeon succumbed to a heart attack at his home in the Ain region, local mayor Georges Gouly told AFP.

On December 30 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.

“He was a man of great humility… this year he was celebrating the 50th anniversary of his triumph,” Gouly said of Pingeon.

Two years after his greatest triumph Pingeon finished second in the Tour to Belgian cycling legend Eddy Merckx, but as consolation he won that season’s Vuelta in Spain.

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. – Agence France-Presse

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