ZURICH (Reuters) - Ferdinand "Ferdy" Kuebler, the first Swiss cyclist to win the Tour de France, died on Thursday in a Zurich hospital at the age of 97 following a brief illness, the Swiss Cycling federation said on its website.

Kuebler was 31 in 1950 when he won that year's 4,690 kilometer (2,914 mile) edition of the Tour de France.

A year later, he won the world championship race in Varese, Italy.

Although he claimed victory in the Tour of Switzerland three times, it took him a decade as a professional before he won the sport's most prestigious race.


Kuebler, known by Swiss fans as "Ferdy National", is one of only two Swiss Tour de France winners along with Hugo Koblet who claimed victory in 1951. Koblet died in 1964 in a car crash.

(Reporting by John Miller, editing by Ed Osmond)

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