9. Tour De France Winner, Ottavio Bottecchia
Ottavio Bottecchia was a talented Italian cyclist who became the first Italian to win the prestigious Tour de France in 1924, and followed that historic feat up with another victory in the world’s most famous cycling race in 1925. He was also the first man in the history of the race to lead Le Tour from start to finish. One might imagine that such a successful athlete in what was, at the time, a major sport would live a decorated and long life after his racing days ended. Bottecchia was not so fortunate.
On June 14, 1927, not even two years removed from his second Tour de France victory, Bottecchia was found dead on the side of the road in the village of Poenis (lolololol), Italy, not far from his home. His beloved bike was nearby, but totally undamaged, a few feet away from his body. No skidmarks were found to indicate that Bottecchia was forced off the road.
However, Bottecchia was in rough shape. His skull was smashed in, his collarbone was snapped, and several other bones were badly broken. Theories abounded; many suspected he died in a bike crash, while other surmised he had been mortally wounded in a fight. However, authorities eventually settled on the absolutely ridiculous notion that he died of sun stroke (you know, cause that is usually consistent with blunt force trauma to the head and all).
The eventual cause of death added ammunition to conspiracy theorists who believed Bottecchia was killed for speaking out against Italian Authoritarian Benito Mussolini, and his death covered up to protect a government hit on the cyclist.
Whichever theory you choose to believe, Ottavio Bottecchia’s death has never been adequately explained, and it is likely that his murderer died without ever seeing the inside of a jail cell.