Dead Cyclist Watch: Tommy Simpson

Today’s the fortieth anniversary of the death of Tommy Simpson, the first (and only?) really great British cyclist, who collapsed and died near the summit of Mont Ventoux in the 1967 Tour de France.

Richard Williams has a good piece in today’s Graun; and do read William Fotheringham’s Put Me Back On My Bike if you get the chance: it’s a cracking book, certainly the best book on cycling that I’ve read, but one that’s not just for the cycling nerds out there. In fact, anyone interested in the social history of postwar Britain in general and the popular culture of the 1960s in particular should enjoy it. And, look, there’s a new edition, too, so it’s bound to be in the shops.

(There’s even been speculation that Bradley Wiggins has gone on the attack in today’s stage from Semur-en-Auxois to Bourg-en-Bresse by way of symbolic tribute to the man; we’ll find out, no doubt, at the end of the day’s racing.)

0 thoughts on “Dead Cyclist Watch: Tommy Simpson”

  1. I’m not sure Simpson’s the only really great cyclist Britain’s produced – in terms of achievement on the road, Nicole Cooke surpasses him, and surely Boardman’s achievements on the track qualify as ‘great’.

  2. Yes — you’re right about Nicole Cooke; she’s really very impressive indeed.

    Chris Boardman was good at the kind of cycling I don’t much like: short time trials, track pursuit and trying to go for the hour record, so I’m going to discount him.

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