Historic Overview José Manuel Fuente Lavandera
José Manuel Fuente Lavandera (September 30, 1945 in Limanes, Spain – July 18, 1996 in Oviedo, Spain) was a professional road racing cyclist and noted climbing specialist.
Fuente was a professional from 1970 to 1976. He had the same nickname as his father and grandfather, which was "El Tarangu", a word in the Asturian language for a man reputed for his strength and character. Fuente was known as one of the greatest climbers of his generation. He was a two-time winner of the Vuelta a España and won four consecutive climbers classification (or King of the Mountains) at the Giro d'Italia. He was rivals with the great cyclists of his time: Eddy Merckx and Luis Ocaña. He won the Vuelta a España in 1972, which at that time was held in late April and early May. Several weeks later, in the 1972 Giro d'Italia, Fuente had a great battle with Eddy Merckx. Fuente took the pink jersey as leader of the general classification early on in the race but Merckx took it back. On the mountain stage to Bardonecchia, Fuente put in an attack that put pressure on Merckx. Little by little, Merckx increased his pace and came back to Fuente and ended up winning the stage.
Health problems due to kidney disease forced Fuente to retire in 1975. After retirement he opened a successful cycle business in Oviedo and in 1988 was appointed directeur sportif of the Clas team. This lasted only a year, after which he was replaced in 1989 by Juan Fernadez. Fuente died following a long battle with kidney disease at the age of 50.