Swiss champion cyclist Ferdinand Kubler dies at 97

Ferdinand KublerGeneva: Ferdinand Kubler, one of the world's greatest cyclists and the first Swiss winner of the Tour de France, has died aged 97, his wife told the Swiss media on Friday.

Kubler, who won the Tour de France in 1950 at the age of 31 and came second in 1954, died in the presence of his wife Christina, after being admitted to a hospital in Zurich due to a heavy cold, reports Efe.

The renowned cyclist was able to celebrate Christmas with his wife at home before going into the hospital a few days later.

Christina, 70, told Swiss magazine Schweizer Illustrierte that her husband died peacefully, with a smile on his face, on Thursday.

Kubler, who won the Tour de Suisse three times in 1942, 1948 and 1951, ended his cycling career in 1957.

In 1983, Kubler was chosen as the most popular Swiss athlete in 50 years.