Tom Simpson - Famous Nottinghamshire cyclist

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30 Nov 1937 - 13 July 1967

Although born in Durham, Tom Simpson lived much of his life in Harworth, Nottinghamshire, 8 km north of Worksop.

Tom joined Harworth & District Cycling Club aged 13, and got in extra practice whilst delivering groceries in the Bassetlaw district by bicycle and on road trips to Cleethorpes. He began winning club time trials and his first road race was as a junior at the Forest Recreation Ground in Nottingham.

His later cycling successes included:

  • Winning the National Junior Hill Climb Championship in 1954
  • A bronze medal in the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games as a member of the British Pursuit Road Race team.
  • Holding the 1965 World Professional Road title after turning professional.
  • Being the first Englishman to wear the yellow jersey in the Tour de France, and winning a stage in 1962.
  • Sportsman of the Year in 1965
  • Becoming an Honorary Life Member of the British Cycling federation in 1967

His autobiography, Cycling Is My Life, was first published in 1966.

Tom Simpson was noted for his strong competitive spirit and determination, and sadly died during the thirteenth stage of the 1967 Tour de France, having collapsed one kilometre from the summit. A memorial near where he died on the mountain has become a place of pilgrimage for many cyclists.

He was buried at Harworth cemetery after a service at the village church attended by an estimated 5,000 mourners, and the epitaph on his grave there reads;

"His body ached, his legs grew tired, but still he would not give in".

Further information about Tom Simpson can be found in Local Studies collections at Worksop, Retford and Bircotes Library. Outside the Scrooby Road Sports Ground in Bircotes, there is a similar memorial stone to that which stands on Mont Ventoux, and memorabilia can be viewed at the nearby Tom Simpson Museum in the Harworth and Bircotes Sports and Social Club.

This page was added by Website Administrator on 25/08/2017.
Comments about this page

I first met Tom Simpson at the National Track Championship in 1955 held at Fallowfield, Manchester I believe. Tom was in the 4000m individual pursuit against Mick Gambrill or John Geddes and having punctured in the first lap on 2 instances he gave up. Along with 2 pals from Mansfield Victoria CC we decided to stay the night to see the final day, so we called at a nearby Cycle Shop and asked for a local guest house to stay the night. The Guest house we were sent to was local and the owners welcomed us and directed us to our room, and said "teas ready" We tucked into our Ham Salad tea and were aware of someone in the doorway who said "NO THAT'S NOT EM"" It was Tom Simpson who had arranged Digs for some New Zealand Friends and the Owner thought we were them. We asked have we got to move? Tom said NO! I'll find somewhere else. We had a wonderful weekend.

By Tom Shead
On 11/09/2017

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