More about Tom Simpson
Tom Simpson was the first to win one of the five biggest single-day races, called the monuments of the sport, and the first to win the world professional road race title. So far only Mark Cavendish has repeated these two feats, but where Cavendish has won one monument, Milan-San Remo, Simpson won three.
In stage races Simpson was the first British cyclist ever to wear the yellow jersey in the Tour de France. He did it in 1962, when he finished 6th overall. He was the first British cyclist to win Paris-Nice and he won two stages in the Vuelta a España.
Loved in Europe for his charm and fighting spirit, by 1965 Simpson’s profile was so high in his home country he became the first cyclist ever to win the BBC Sports Personality of the Year.
Summing up Simpson the cyclist, Sir Bradley Wiggins wrote in his latest book, ‘Icons’ “The odds against him winning the Tour of Flanders when he did, at the age of 23, were colossal. Add in Milan-San Remo, his masterpiece Tour of Lombardy, his world road race title, Paris-Nice and the rest, and you have arguably the most complete British road racer of all time. Cavendish was –and still is- a better sprinter, I was a much better time triallist, and Tom couldn’t climb like Robert Millar. However, none of us could have won so many big, important and widely diverse races, and it’s unlikely anybody else will.”
One race eluded Simpson, though, despite repeated efforts to win it. That was the Tour de France, in which he had constant bad luck, with crashes and illness affecting his performance or putting him out. His desire to win it never dimmed, and in 1967 that desire cost him his life.