Romster plan to keep the memory of Tom Simpson alive.
Our goal is to make as many people aware of Tom Simpsons achievements while in the saddle through a range of celebratory cycling t-shirts which boast Toms victories and great rides through his quite amazing cycling career. We will be working closely with members of Toms family to create some fantastic memorabilia. A huge amount of people; in and outside of cycling know who Tom Simpson was, but not everyone knows just what a great cyclist he was. We want to make everyone remember one of our true Great Brit heroes from the post war era, a real gentleman made of only the best ingredients, something which is hard to find these days. A man full of true grit, the fighting spirit of a lion, the determination like no other, a man who wouldn't give up on his goals and somebody who will live on as an inspirational legacy for many forever, that man is Tom Simpson. At some point we will be involved in charitable work for the maintanence of Toms memorials in both Harworth and on Mont Vonteoux, as soon as that takes place we will let you know so you can also be part of keeping Toms memory alive. Have a read of the below, a great piece on Tom as found on wiki.
Tom Simpson was the youngest of the six children of coalmine worker Tom Simpson senior and his wife Alice, née Cheetham, and was born in Haswell, County Durham. Tom senior worked at nearby South Hetton Colliery, while Alice ran Haswell Workingmen's Club. After World War II, the Simpson family moved to Harworth in north Nottinghamshire, another mining village, where Simpson grew up and acquired his interest in cycling. He attended the village school and later Worksop Technical College and in 1954 was an apprentice draughtsman at an engineering company in Retford.
As a cyclist he joined Harworth and District cycling club and later Rotherham's Scala Wheelers. In 1954, still with the Harworth club, he wrote for advice to the former Tour rider, Charles Pélissier, who was running a training camp in Monaco.
By his late teens, Simpson was winning local time trials. He was then advised to try track cycling, and he travelled regularly to Fallowfield Stadium in Manchester to compete, winning a medal in the national 4000m individual pursuit. Still 19, he was part of the Great Britain team pursuit squad which won a bronze medal at the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne. Two years later, he won a silver medal for England in the individual pursuit at the 1958 British Empire and Commonwealth Games in Cardiff.
In April 1959, Simpson set off to live in the Breton fishing port of Saint-Brieuc, France, hoping to win enough local amateur races to get noticed by a professional cycling team.
Simpson - The Professional Cyclist
Within two months, Simpson had won five races and in July 1959 was offered terms by two professional teams; he decided to join Raphael Geminiani, which already had a British cyclist, Brian Robinson. His first event as a professional was a small stage race, the Tour de l'Ouest in which he won two stages and finished 18th - a major achievement for a new pro who would normally be expected to act as a domestique to the team's leader.
He competed in the 1959 world championship in the Netherlands in the individual pursuit and professional road race, finishing fourth in both. He turned down selection to ride the 1959 Tour de France. He did ride the following year, finishing 29th, and taking third place on stage 3. 1960 also saw him compete in his first Classic: he had top ten finishes in La Flèche Wallonne and Paris–Roubaix - he led the latter for 40 km before running out of energy and being overtaken less than 10 km from the finish, ending up 9th.
In April 1961, Simpson won his first Classic. After losing at Roubaix the previous year, he demonstrated his liking for cobbles by winning the Ronde van Vlaanderen after a two-man sprint at the finish. That year, he also finished fifth in the early season Paris–Nice stage race, and ninth in the world championship, but he abandoned the Tour de France on stage 3, affected by a knee injury.
In 1962, he became first Briton to wear the maillot jaune as leader of the Tour de France (after stage 12) and finished sixth overall (his highest placing and the best by a Briton until Robert Millar's fourth in 1984, and later Bradley Wiggins' fourth in 2009), losing third spot after a crash. Earlier in the season, he again finished fifth in the Ronde van Vlaanderen and sixth in Gent–Wevelgem.
In Classics, 1963 and 1965 were Simpson's best years. Riding in the black-and-white of the Peugeot BP team in 1963, he won Bordeaux–Paris, was second in Paris–Brussels and Paris–Tours, third in the Ronde van Vlaanderen, eighth in Paris–Roubaix, and 10th in La Flèche Wallonne and the Giro di Lombardia.
Simpson won Milan – San Remo in 1964, finished fourth again in the world championship and 10th in Paris–Roubaix. He also came close to a stage victory in the Tour de France, finishing second on stage 9, ending 14th overall.
In 1965, Simpson became first Briton to win the world professional road racing championship, outsprinting Germany's Rudi Altig at San Sebastián in Spain after the two had broken away with 40 km to go. He also won the Italian Autumn Classic, the Giro di Lombardia (the second world champion jersey also to win in Italy - the other was Alfredo Binda in the 1920s), and picked up third in Flèche Wallonne and Bordeaux–Paris, sixth in Paris–Roubaix and 10th in Liège–Bastogne–Liège. He partnered Peter Post to victory in the six-day race at Brussels.
Simpson ended the year by winning UK Sports Journalists' Association's award of Sportsman of the Year (following Reg Harris - the only other cyclist to win), and he won the 1965 BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award - the only cyclist to have won this accolade until Chris Hoy won in 2008. Within UK cycling, Simpson won the Bidlake Memorial Prize in 1965.
A stage victory in the Tour de France still eluded Simpson. He twice finished second, on stages 12 and 13, of the 1966 Tour, but abandoned on stage 17: he had attacked on the Col du Galibier but crashed on the descent and was unable to hold his handlebars. 1966, overall, was a write-off for Simpson, who missed much of the season due to a skiing injury the previous winter.
Simpson looked in form in early 1967. He won Paris–Nice (taking two second places and a third place on different days) and the Tour of Sardinia. He also rode in the Vuelta a España for the first time, collecting two stage victories and 33rd place overall.
Tragedy on Mont Vonteoux
At the start of the 1967 Tour de France, Simpson was optimistic he could make an impact. After the first week he was sixth, but a stomach bug began to affect his form, and he lost time in a stage including the Col du Galibier. In Marseille, at the start of stage 13 on Thursday 13 July, he was still suffering as the race headed into Provence on a hot day, and was seen to drink brandy during the early parts of the stage. In those years, Tour organisers limited each rider to four bottles (bidons) of water, about two litres - the effects of dehydration being poorly understood. During races, riders raided roadside bars for drinks, and filled their bottles from fountains.
The day started hot. The Tour doctor, Pierre Dumas, took a stroll at dawn. Near his hotel, the Noaille at Cannebière, he met other race followers at 6:30am. "If the riders take something today, we'll have a death on our hands", he said.
His team manager, Alec Taylor, said in Cycling that after the first fall he feared for Simpson less for the way he was going up the mountain than for the way he would go down the other side. The rushing air would revive him but Taylor feared that Simpson, whom he described as a madcap descender, would overdo things and crash. The team mechanic, Harry Hall, said he worried the moment Simpson started to zig-zag. "He was riding like an amateur then, going from one side of the road to the other [to lessen the gradient] and sometimes he went dangerously close to the edge of the road. And there's no barrier there. Once you go over, you go over." He tried to persuade Simpson to stop when he fell, saying "That's it for you, Tom." "But he said he wanted to go on. He said 'My straps, Harry, my straps!' Meaning that his toe-straps were still undone. So we got him upright and we pushed him off again."
When he fell again, his hands were locked to the handlebars. Hall shouted for the other mechanic, Ken Ryall, to prise them loose and the pair laid Simpson beside the road. A motorcycle policeman summoned Pierre Dumas, who took over team officials' first attempts at saving Simpson, including mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Dumas massaged Simpson's heart and gave him oxygen and an injection. Dumas found that Simpson was not breathing even in an oxygen mask. He, his deputy Macorig and nurse, took turns massaging his heart and giving mouth-to-mouth. A police helicopter took Simpson to the St-Marthe hospital at Avignon but Simpson was declared dead soon after arrival. Two tubes of amphetamines and a further empty tube were found in the rear pocket of his racing jersey. The official time of death was 5:30pm, the verdict that he had died of a heart attack.
Dumas refused to sign a burial certificate and a poisons expert from Marseille was commissioned to conduct an autopsy. It confirmed five days later that Simpson had traces of amphetamine in his body.
Simpson's last words, as remembered by the team mechanic, Harry Hall (d. 2007), and by Alec Taylor (d. 1997), were "Go on, go on!" The words "Put me back on my bike!" were invented by Sid Saltmarsh, covering the event for The Sun and Cycling, who was not there at the time and in a reception blackspot for live accounts on Radio Tour.
On the next racing day the other riders were reluctant to continue racing so soon after Simpson's death and asked the organisers for a postponement. The French rider Jean Stablinski proposed instead that the race would go on but that one of the British riders would be allowed to win the stage. This honour went to Barry Hoban. This was later a subject of argument as it was widely believed that the race winner should have been Simpson's other team mate and close friend Vin Denson.
The British team had been called in for questioning. Their baggage was searched. Two of the Belgian soigneurs who looked after riders in the team, specifically Simpson - soigneur means carer and a soigneur is akin to a second in boxing - locked themselves in their room, got drunk and would not come out. They were named as Gus Naessens, one of the highest paid soigneurs and a favourite of Simpson's, and Rudi van der Weide.
Simpsons Memory Lives On
There is a granite memorial to Simpson near the spot where he died, paid for by British cyclists. The magazine Cycling, now Cycling Weekly, opened a memorial fund through its editor, Alan Gayfer, and the managing editor, Peter Bryan, to install a stained glass window in the church at Harworth. When that proved beyond the fund, Gayfer approached the authorities in Bédoin at the foot of Mont Ventoux for permission to erect a granite monument, sculpted by a local craftsman. Bryan said in Cycling Plus that the fund had opened so fast that legal procedures had not been followed, with the consequence that nobody now knew who owned the memorial or the land on which it stands. It fell into a poor condition even though it was occasionally swept clean by bar-owners in Bédoin. It is now in the care of British cyclists and riders who pass the memorial frequently leaving tributes such as drinking bottles and caps.
There is a plaque in Bédoin placed by journalists following the 1967 Tour.
There is a display case - dedicated in August 2001 by Tour de France winner Lucien Van Impe - in Harworth and Bircotes sports and social club. The display shows Simpson's Peugeot bike, his shorts and jersey from the 1967 Tour de France, his Great Britain jersey from his win in the world road race championship, and newspaper cuttings. There is a Simpson memorial on the road outside the club, erected by local cyclists, including members of the Harworth and District Cycling Club to commemorate the 30th anniversary in 1997