German cycling star Rudi Altig died on Saturday of cancer, the German Cycling Federation reported today. Altig was 79. He leaves behind his wife and three children.
Altig, like many German racers, began his career on the track, and was a prolific champion on the Six Day circuit, tallying 23 victories during his career in addition to two world titles in the individual pursuit.
But his greatest successes came early on the road. In 1962, at age 25, he won three stages en route to taking out the overall classification in the Vuelta a Espana when it was held in the spring.
In the 1962 Tour de France, he won the first stage plus two more, and held the yellow jersey for five stages. Over his career, he amassed eight Tour de France stages and held the maillot jaune for 18 days - still a German record.
He won the Tour of Flanders in 1964 and Milan-San Remo in 1966.
Altig is most famous for his 1966 World Championship victory on the Nürburgring. 50 years later, on July 31, the same venue will host a UCI 1.1 race, which will be named for Altig.