Former German professional rider Rudi Altig has died of cancer, aged 79.
Altig won a total of 18 stages in all three of the Grand Tours: the Tour de France, Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España. He won the 1962 Vuelta overall, becoming the first German to do so, and wore the yellow jersey of Tour de France race leader in the 1962, 1964, 1966 and 1969 races. He won the points classification in the 1962 Tour.
He was runner-up to British rider Tom Simpson in the 1965 road world championships, and then won the title in 1966 at the Nürburgring in his native Germany. It was the last time that a German took the men’s road race world title.
He was also a highly accomplished track rider, excelling in Six Day races. He won a total of 22 Six Days with various riding partners. He also claimed the individual pursuit world title in 1960 and 1961.
After retiring from professional racing Altig stayed heavily involved with the sport. He was a sports director and German national coach for a period. He also found success as a television cycling commentator.
Altig leaves his wife Monique and three children: Iris, Cindy and Steven.