Guillermo Timoner, legend of track cycling in Spain, has died

Spanish cycling is once again in mourning. After the death of Federico Martín Bahamontes was announced on August 8th, another famous figure of Spanish cycling left us this Thursday: the pistard Guillermo Timoner, who died at the age of 97, according to the Mallorcan newspaper Última Hora.

Since then, Timoner has been the first Spanish cyclist to be crowned world champion He earned as many as six world titles on the velodrome, making him one of the greatest pistards in history, having conquered the “rainbow” in 1955, 1959, 1960, 1962, 1964 and 1965. in addition to two other runners-up in the medium-distance modality after the motorcycle. A dedication to the career Timoner continued after retiring from professional football, serving as national coach between 1971 and 1978 before devoting himself entirely to his bicycle workshop in Felanitx, while continuing to get on his bike to continue enjoying cycling, his great passion.

Timoner’s cycling career began out of necessity, as people used to cycle to work in the fields As a child, he impressed his father and friends and began competing.

In an interview with AS in 2019, Timoner admitted that “In my career I’ve won maybe a thousand tests between prizes, criteria, meetings, trophies…” A career that lasted almost thirty years, between 1941 and 1971, and which culminated when he won his first Spanish championship in Tortosa in 1945 . “I won my first Spanish championship in 1945 and the last World Cup was in San Sebastián in 1965,” he explained.

However, Timoner’s career was not easy either, as the cyclist had to pay for his own participation in the races. “I was an emigrant, I had to go abroad. There were neither tools nor ADO. When he won races, he made money. If not nothing. Franco received me five times in El Pardo and I always had to pay my expenses out of my own pocket (…) I made a lot of money but I won races. Then I had to pay for hotels, deputies, material… They still had 25% of the contract left.” he explained to AS in an interview in 2005, also reassuring that he had to stay at the home of Lucien Acou, who years later became the father-in-law of another cycling legend: Belgian Eddy Merckx.

A Guillermo Timoner who paved the way for Spanish cycling to conquer the world on bikes in 1955 with the first rainbow jersey for Spain. “It wasn’t about coming to the World Cup and winning. I didn’t manage to do that last year, but I prepared very well this year. I felt a lot of joy. First they gave you the jersey and then they gave you a diploma signed by the commissioners certifying that you won without cheating, doping or anything weird. I earned everything cleanly, that’s why I attach so much importance to the diploma.”

However, Timoner faced the challenge of winning Olympic gold to add to his collection of six rainbow jerseys. “Llaneras was lucky it wasn’t me. In my day, professional cyclists couldn’t compete in the Olympics. So it would be difficult for me to assess how Joan must be feeling right now. When I retired, the competition opened. I would have liked to have been at the games.”he told AS after Joan Llaneras won gold at the Beijing 2008 Olympics.

The pioneer of track cycling in Spain also revealed his passion for cycling to AS, going as far as explaining that he’s still been cycling every day for over 70 years. “I never stopped riding my bike. To take it away I would have to die. I consider it a drug. I can’t live without her. I write my training sessions in a notebook: yesterday I did 120 minutes on the roller, the day before yesterday three hours… and I only hit the streets on the weekends, but I do rollerball every day.”

A particular success for Timoner as the pistard ran with mirrors to see himself and rolled on the bike while the pros covered their distances in the Giro, Vuelta, Tour and the Classics. “A lot of people come up to me and say, ‘I saw him walk here, I saw him walk there…’ but I never saw Timoner walk, so I put on the mirrors to see myself. And do you know that while I’m skating I watch all the bike races that are on TV?” I get on my bike when the show starts and don’t get off until the show ends. So every year I run the Tour, the Vuelta, the classics…everything they throw away. There are days when I ride five or six hours because there are stages of the Tour that are entirely televised.”

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