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Cycling: Italian great Gimondi dies of heart attack

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Cycling: Italian great Gimondi dies of heart attack
FILE PHOTO: Former Italian cycling star Felice Gimondi looks at the map of the 2002 Giro of Italy cycling race during the presentation of the race to European Deputies February 6, 2002 at the European Parliament in Strasbourg. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler   -   Copyright  Reuters Photographer(Reuters)
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(Reuters) – Italian Felice Gimondi, one of only seven riders to have won all three Grand Tours, has died at the age of 76 after suffering a heart attack while swimming in Sicily on Friday.

“A great champion who made our sport more human has left us, a great man,” the Italian cycling federation said in a statement.

Gimondi won the 1965 Tour de France in his first season as a professional, aged 22.

He won the Giro d’Italia two years later and the Vuelta a Espana in 1968.

Gimondi also won the Giro in 1969 and 1976 to take his Grand Tours tally to five. He retired in 1978.

Jacques Anquetil, Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault, Alberto Contador, Vincenzo Nibali and Chris Froome are the other six riders to have won all three Grand Tours.

(Reporting by Pritha Sarkar, editing by Ian Ransom)

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