Tom Simpson (cyclist)

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Tom Simpson 1969 Ajman stamp.jpg

Tom Simpson (born November 30, 1937 in Haswell, County Durham , † July 13, 1967 at Mont Ventoux ) was an English cyclist .


Simpson was considered one of the best British professional cyclists . As an amateur , he won the bronze medal in the 4,000-meter team pursuit in Melbourne in 1956 . In 1957 he won a national title when he won the British championship in the mountain time trial . Simpson was the first Briton to wear the Tour de France yellow jersey in 1962 . Simpson was also the first Briton to win the road cycling world championship in Lasarte, Spain, in 1965 (ahead of the German Rudi Altig ). Tom Simpson started several times at the UCI World Championshipsin road driving for the UK national team. In addition to his 1965 title, he achieved other top placings: in 1959 he was 4th in Zandvoort in the Netherlands , 9th in 1961 in Bern and again 4th in 1964 in Sallanches, France . The classic hunter also won three of the five monuments of cycling : in 1961 he won the Tour of Flanders , 1964 Milan-San Remo and 1965 the Tour of Lombardy .

Simpson achieved notoriety mainly for his death on the slopes of Mont Ventoux during the Tour de France in 1967 . Although he was a bit behind in the overall standings, he was hoping to turn the tide with an attack that day. He first took the lead but was then overtaken. Shortly before reaching the summit, Simpson collapsed, got on his bike again, only to lose consciousness a few moments later due to cardiac arrest . Despite immediate cardiopulmonary resuscitation attempts , he died on the side of the road. A journalist who was not there later attributed the last words "Put me back on my bike" to him. Even if this quote was not actually uttered, it has nevertheless gained some notoriety.

Cause of death and afterlife

Memorial stone in Harworth

In retrospect, it was found that Simpson had taken stimulants ( amphetamines ) and alcohol . The autopsy finding was dehydration . A year earlier, doping controls had been carried out on the tour for the first time . As early as 1965, Simpson had admitted to doping in an interview with The People magazine, which nobody at the time found shocking or sensational.

Today there is a memorial stone on the spot where it collapsed. Many cyclists who tackle Mont Ventoux leave something behind there (drinking bottles etc.).

In September 2017, Bradley Wiggins unveiled a memorial stone for Tom Simpson in Haswell's birthplace , who would have turned 80 that year. Wiggins: “He was my hero.” There is a bust of Simpson in Ghent's Kuipke , there is a commemorative plaque in Bédoin, France . Another memorial stone, replica of the stone from Mont Ventoux , is located in Harworth .


In 1965 he was named BBC Sports Personality of the Year , UK Sportsman of the Year.


Two years after Tom Simpson's death, his widow married Barry Hoban , who was also a cyclist and Simpson's teammate on the Tour.

Web links

Commons : Tom Simpson  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Helmer Boelsen : The history of the cycling world championships . Covadonga, Bielefeld, ISBN 978-3-936973-33-4 , p. 219-220 .
  2. Doping victim Tom Simpson: The man who fell dead from the bike. In: Spiegel Online . August 6, 2007, accessed January 4, 2017 .
  3. Andreas Burkert: Mont Ventoux in the Tour de France - "Put me back on the bike". In: . July 14, 2013, accessed January 4, 2017 .
  4. "Doping Cases"
  5. ^ Nigel Wynn: Sir Bradley Wiggins unveils Tom Simpson memorial in County Durham. In: Cycling Weekly. September 18, 2017, accessed September 20, 2017 .