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40 years since Simpson death

Jaques Goddet

Jaques Goddet (Image credit: John Pierce)

By Cyclingnews staff

As Bradley Wiggins went off the front of the peloton on Friday for a massive 190 kilometre escape, a small group of people were gathering to remember another British rider - Tom Simpson. Friday marked the 40th anniversary of Simpson's passing on the climb to Mont Ventoux in the 1967 Tour de france.

A small group including Vin Denson, Ray Pascoe and most of Simpson's family travelled to Mt Ventoux on Friday for a service.

Simpson was the first British rider to wear the yellow jersey in the Tour de France and the only Briton ever to win the professional world road race championships, Milan-San Remo, the Tour of Flanders and the Giro di Lombardia. Simpson's achievements on the bike were all the more remarkable for the time they happened. While English-speaking riders are now common in the European peloton, in the early 60s a lad from County Durham in the North of England was a rare bird indeed.

Simpson died of heat stroke and cardiac failure on the slopes of Mont Ventoux. He had amphetamine in his bloodstream and was reported by team-mates to have drunk brandy before the mountain to try and ease stomach pain.

Former Tour de France organizer Jaques Goddet laid a wreath in 1987 (pictured) at the foot of a memorial erected just off the road at the spot that the Brtish rider, who collapsed from his bike once on the climb but famously asked to be put back on his bike, finally succomed.

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