Rudi Altig

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Rudi Altig (2006)

Rudi Altig (born March 18, 1937 in Mannheim ; † June 11, 2016 in Remagen ) was a German racing cyclist . He became world champion both on the track and on the road .

Athletic career


Award ceremony for the 1959 World Track: Mario Vallotto, Rudi Altig, Willy Trepp

At the age of almost 15 Altig competed in his first races for the RRC final spurt in Mannheim and achieved his first victory in a cyclo-cross race in January 1952 . He made his street debut three months later and won the youth B district championship. Although he became the German junior road champion in 1953 , Altig concentrated on track cycling in the following years , where he often competed with his brother Willi . Their dynamism and powerful driving style earned the brothers the nickname "The Ox". By 1959 he won four German track championships (1957 sprint, 1958 and 1959 two-man team driving with brother Willi and in 1959 the 4,000 m single pursuit ). He achieved the greatest success of his amateur career by winning the world title in the single pursuit at the 1959 World Railroad Championships . A little later he set two world records over 1000 meters with a standing start and 5000 meters.

Professional driver

Rudi Altig (r.) With his brother Willi (1966)

From December 1959, Altig, who had previously worked as a motor vehicle electrician, started as a professional driver . He made his debut at the six-day race in Cologne alongside Rik Van Steenbergen and finished second. At the rail world championships in 1960 and 1961 , he won the title in the single pursuit. He had also recommended himself as a road rider in 1960 and 1961 with 13 successes and in 1962 got a contract with the French cycling team St. Raphael-Helyett alongside Jacques Anquetil . Since then, Altig has shifted his activities more to road cycling and won the Vuelta a España in 1962 after taking the lead by winning the last individual time trial . At the Tour de France 1962 he was 31st after he had achieved three stage wins and won the points classification . Since Altig and Anquetil had conflicts all season long, the team management wanted to bring about a reconciliation in autumn and sent them to the start of the Trofeo Baracchi , a couple time trial . Together they won the race thanks to the performance of Rudi Altig in particular, who pushed Jacques Anquetil to his limits. Jacques Anquetil later described this as a great victory for the team, but also "the greatest and most humble defeat of my life".

Altig competed in all three of the most important stage races in his career . He took part in the Tour de France four times and had his best result with twelfth place in 1966 . He wore the yellow jersey of the front runner for a total of 18 days . In 1969 he won the prologue and drove a stage in the “ Maillot Jaune ” for the last time . By then Altig had achieved the best result in the overall ranking of five starts at the Giro d'Italia with a ninth place . Although Altig often competed in races in Switzerland , he only drove the Tour de Suisse once. In 1974 he was 14th overall.

Altig competed in four of the classic one-day races in the “Monuments of Cycling” . He won 1964 in the Tour of Flanders and 1968 in Milan-San Remo . Most often he drove the one-day race Paris – Roubaix , in which he achieved his best result in 1967 with third place. He also took part in the Liège – Bastogne – Liège race in 1966 (18th place). Only in the Lombardy Tour did Altig never start because he was already obliged to attend the six-day race.

In 1966 Altig won his only world championship title in road racing at the Nürburgring . This success earned him the title of " Sportsman of the Year 1966 ". Between 1962 and 1970 he competed in every road world championship . In 1962 he was disqualified for outside help, in 1963 he retired exhausted, while in 1965 he only had to surrender to the British Tom Simpson after he had been incapacitated months earlier with a broken collarbone . At his last World Cup in 1970, he was 33 years old behind Rolf Wolfshohl , who was twelfth, and with 15th place was the second best German participant. Altig won the national road driver title in 1964 and 1970.

Although Altig had concentrated on road racing from 1962 and had won a total of two stage races and 98 road races in Germany and numerous other countries, he kept returning to the track until the end of his career. In 1962 he had set a world record over 5000 meters. He mainly competed in six-day races . In 1971 he won his last six-day race; it was his 23rd victory at this event. He achieved most of these victories together with Sigi Renz from Munich .

His saying “We are not athletes, we are professionals” became legendary, and in its time caused some irritation among his fans and the public.

Later activities

After Altig ended his racing career in 1971, he initially took over the position of German national coach for amateurs. He later worked as technical director for the French cycling team Puch in 1980 and 1981. Afterwards Altig was a technical advisor at the German bicycle manufacturer Schauff and race director at various cycling competitions, including around the Henninger Tower . In addition, he was seen as a cycling expert on various television channels.


Altig had the nickname "The cycling pharmacy". Among other things, he later confessed to taking Durabolin and Pervitin . In 1966 he escaped control of the Flèche Wallonne . In 1969, Altig said in the Miroir Sprint : "I am smart enough to use agents that do not leave any traces in the urine."

Private life

Altig was married twice and had three children. His father-in-law also acted as his advisor on financial issues, so he bought several apartment buildings for Altig in Mannheim. In 1994 he was successfully treated for stomach cancer. He succumbed to another cancer in 2016.


Monument Le Roi du Peloton in Sinzig
  • Sportsman of the year 1966
  • Silver bay leaf 1966
  • Federal Cross of Merit on Ribbon (August 31, 1992)
  • The cycling track in Mannheim was named after Rudi Altig and his brother Willi Altig in 2012 .
  • On the occasion of the 80th birthday of Altig, who has since passed away, the Rhein-Ahr sports hall in his home town of Sinzig was renamed the Rudi-Altig sports hall .
  • In March 2017 a path in Mannheim was named after the Altig Altigweg brothers .
  • On March 18, 2018, the memorial Le Roi du Peloton was unveiled in Sinzig in memory of Altig .

There was a controversial debate about the award of the silver laurel leaf, as the German Sports Association (DSB) initially rejected it with reference to Altig's professional status. After Erwin Hauck , the then President of the Federation of German Cyclists (BDR), intervened by pointing out that the German footballers had also received the honor as professionals, the DSB gave in.

Important victories

1957 German track champion sprint and 4000 m individual pursuit
1958 German track champion, two-man team driving and 4000 m individual pursuit
1959 German track champion 4000 m individual and team pursuit, two-man team
driving track world champion single pursuit
1960 Track world champion individual pursuit
German track champion individual pursuit
1961 Track World Champion Single Pursuit
German Track Champion Single Pursuit
German Champion 100 km team race
1962 Tour of Spain
1964 German Road Cycling
Championships Tour of Andalusia Tour of
1966 Road
World Championship ("Nürburgring") Piedmont tour
Giro della Toscana
1968 Milan – Sanremo
1970 German road cycling championships
around the Henninger Tower
1962-1971 23 victories in six-day races


  • Sigmund Durst : Rudi Altig. The way of a world champion. Limpert, Frankfurt am Main 1960
  • Helmer Boelsen : Rudi Altig exemplary advancement. Series of articles in: Radsport, Köln, 52/1961 to 6/1962.
  • Rudi Altig: The golden spokes. Copress-Verlag Hermann Hess, Munich 1967.
  • Munzinger Archive : Internationales Sportarchiv 2/02

Web links

Commons : Rudi Altig  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. accessed June 11, 2016
  2. ^ Association of German cyclists (ed.): Radsport . No. 2/1962 . Deutscher Sportverlag Kurt Stoof, Cologne 1962, p. 11 .
  3. a b trophies, championships and records . Lingen-Verlag, Cologne 1967, p. 176 .
  4. Jürgen Löhle: The Tour de France. German professionals and their successes . Delius-Klasing, Bielefeld 2017, ISBN 978-3-667-10922-4 , p. 158 .
  5. FAZ . Frankfurt July 8, 2003.
  6. Andreas Zellmer: Rudi Altig: Still headstand at 70 , dpa, March 16, 2007
  7. ^ "Doping cases" on ( Memento from April 17, 2009 in the Internet Archive )
  8. a b c Cycling legend Rudi Altig is dead on, June 11, 2016, accessed on June 12, 2016
  9. ^ Announcement from the Ordenskanzlei in the Office of the Federal President
  10. Mannheimer Morgen , June 18, 2012, p. 17
  11. Sinzig honors Rudi Altig. In: March 17, 2017. Retrieved March 18, 2017 .
  12. City of Mannheim honors the Altig brothers with "Altigweg". In: March 29, 2017, accessed March 31, 2017 .
  13. «Le Roi du Peloton» & # 150; Monument to Rudi Altig. In: May 8, 1977. Retrieved March 19, 2018 .
  14. ^ Association of German cyclists (ed.): Radsport . No. 36/1966 . Deutscher Sportverlag Kurt Stoof, Cologne 1966, p. 20 .