137 Facts About Tom Simpson


Thomas Simpson was one of Britain's most successful professional cyclists.

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Tom Simpson was born in Haswell, County Durham, and later moved to Harworth, Nottinghamshire.

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Tom Simpson began road cycling as a teenager before taking up track cycling, specialising in pursuit races.

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Tom Simpson won a bronze medal for track cycling at the 1956 Summer Olympics and a silver at the 1958 British Empire and Commonwealth Games.

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In 1959, at age 21, Tom Simpson was signed by the French professional road-racing team Saint-Raphael–R.

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In 1963 Tom Simpson moved to Peugeot–BP–Englebert, winning Bordeaux–Paris that year and the 1964 Milan–San Remo.

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Tom Simpson won two stages of the 1967 Vuelta a Espana before he won the general classification of Paris–Nice that year.

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Tom Simpson was known to have taken performance-enhancing drugs during his career, when no doping controls existed.

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Tom Simpson is held in high esteem by many fans for his character and will to win.

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Tom Simpson's father had been a semi-professional sprinter in athletics.

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Tom Simpson rode his first bike, his brother-in-law's, at age 12, sharing it with Harry and two cousins for time trials around Harworth.

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Tom Simpson delivered groceries in the Bassetlaw district by bicycle and traded with a customer for a better road bike.

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Tom Simpson was often left behind in club races; members of his cycling club nicknamed him "four-stone Coppi", after Italian rider Fausto Coppi, due to his slim physique.

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Tom Simpson began winning club time trials, but sensed resentment of his boasting from senior members.

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Tom Simpson placed well in half mile races on grass and cement, but decided to concentrate on road racing.

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In May 1955 Tom Simpson won the National Cyclists' Union South Yorkshire individual pursuit track event as a junior; the same year, he won the British League of Racing Cyclists junior hill climb championship and placed third in the senior event.

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Tom Simpson immersed himself in the world of cycling, writing letters asking for advice.

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In late 1955, Tom Simpson ran a red light in a race and was suspended from racing for six months by the BLRC.

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Tom Simpson competed regularly at Fallowfield Stadium in Manchester, where in early 1956 he met amateur world pursuit silver medallist Cyril Cartwright, who helped him develop his technique.

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At the national championships at Fallowfield the 18-year-old Tom Simpson won a silver medal in the individual pursuit, defeating amateur world champion Norman Sheil before losing to Mike Gambrill.

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Tom Simpson began working with his father as a draughtsman at the glass factory in Harworth.

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Tom Simpson was riding well; although not selected by Great Britain for the amateur world championships, he made the 4,000-metre team pursuit squad for the 1956 Olympics.

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Tom Simpson was nicknamed "the Sparrow" by the Soviet press because of his slender build.

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Tom Simpson blamed himself for the loss for pushing too hard on a turn and being unable to recover for the next.

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In September 1958, Tom Simpson competed at the amateur world championships in Paris.

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Tom Simpson was briefly knocked unconscious and sustained a dislocated jaw; however, he won the race since he crashed after the finish line.

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Tom Simpson wanted to turn professional, but needed to prove himself first, setting his sights on the world amateur indoor hour record.

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Tom Simpson stayed at the Cafe Den Engel, run by Albert Beurick, who organised for him to ride at Ghent's Kuipke velodrome in the Sportpaleis.

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Tom Simpson decided to move to the continent for a better chance at success, and contacted French brothers Robert and Yvon Murphy, whom he met while racing.

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Tom Simpson won the event and was invited to Germany to train for the 1959 motor-paced world championships, but declined the opportunity in favour of a career on the road.

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Tom Simpson's mother returned them, with the hope they would understand this.

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Tom Simpson applied to local cycling clubs, and joined Club Olympique Briochin, racing with an independent licence from the British Cycling Federation.

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When settled with the Murphy family, 21-year-old Tom Simpson met 19-year-old Helen Sherburn, an au pair from Sutton, Yorkshire.

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Tom Simpson was invited to race in the eight-day stage race Route de France by the Saint-Raphael VC 12e, the amateur club below the professional team Saint-Raphael–R.

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Tom Simpson won the final stage, breaking away from the peloton and holding on for victory.

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Tom Simpson had contract offers from two professional teams, Mercier–BP–Hutchinson and Saint-Raphael–R.

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Tom Simpson passed a medical in Sheffield, but history repeated itself and the papers arrived the day after his departure for his team's training camp in Narbonne in southern France.

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Tom Simpson won the fourth stage and took the overall race leader's jersey.

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Tom Simpson won the next stage's individual time trial, increasing his lead.

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Tom Simpson placed fourth in the individual pursuit, losing by 0.

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Tom Simpson was praised by the winner, Andre Darrigade of France, who thought that without Simpson's work on the front, the breakaway would have been caught.

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Tom Simpson lost contact over the Poggio, finishing in 38th place.

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Days after his move, Tom Simpson rode in Paris–Roubaix, known as "The Hell of the North", the first cycling race to be shown live on Eurovision.

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Tom Simpson rode a lap of honour after the race at the request of the emotional crowd.

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Tom Simpson then won the Mont Faron hill climb and the overall general classification of the Tour du Sud-Est, his first overall win in a professional stage race.

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Tom Simpson planned to ride in the Isle of Man International road race, excited to see to his home fans.

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Tom Simpson dropped to ninth overall by the end of the first week.

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Tom Simpson had been in constant contact with Helen, who was now working in Stuttgart, Germany, meeting with her between races.

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The finish, three circuits around the town of Wetteren, was flat; Defilippis, unlike Tom Simpson, was a sprinter and was expected to win.

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Defilippis' team asked Tom Simpson to agree to a tie, saying no Italian had won a classic since 1953.

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Week later, Tom Simpson rode in Paris–Roubaix in the hope of bettering his previous year's ninth place.

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Tom Simpson increased his speed, catching the publicity and press vehicles ahead.

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Tom Simpson fell, damaging his front wheel and injuring his knee.

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Tom Simpson found his team car and collected a replacement wheel, but by then the front of the race had passed.

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Tom Simpson won the second stage, but was forced to quit during the following stage.

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Tom Simpson's injury had not healed, even after treatment by various specialists, but for financial reasons he was forced to enter the Tour de France with the British team.

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Tom Simpson abandoned on stage three, which started in Roubaix, struggling to pedal on the cobbles.

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Tom Simpson gave Simpson injections in his knee, which reduced the inflammation.

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Tour de France winner Jacques Anquetil signed with them for 1962, but Tom Simpson wanted to lead a team, and signed with Gitane–Leroux–Dunlop–R.

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Tom Simpson helped his team win the stage-3a team time trial and finished second overall, behind Flandria–Faema–Clement's Jef Planckaert.

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Tom Simpson was unable to ride in Milan–San Remo when its organisers limited the race to Italian-based teams; instead he rode in Gent–Wevelgem, finishing sixth, then defended his Tour of Flanders title.

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Tom Simpson finished ninth in the first stage, in a group of twenty-two riders who finished over eight minutes ahead of the rest.

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Tom Simpson's team finished second to Flandria–Faema–Clement in the stage-2b team time trial; he was in seventh place in the general classification, remaining in the top ten the rest of the first week.

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Tom Simpson lost the lead on the following stage, a short time trial ending with a steep uphill finish at Superbagneres.

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Tom Simpson lost almost eleven minutes in the next stage's time trial, finishing the Tour at Paris' Parc des Princes stadium 17 minutes and 9 seconds behind in 6th place.

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Tom Simpson began riding six-day track races into his winter break.

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Tom Simpson was contracted to their manager, Raymond Louviot; Louviot was rejoining Saint-Raphael–Gitane–R.

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Tom Simpson's season opened with Paris–Nice; he fell out of contention after a series of tyre punctures in the opening stages, using the rest of the race as training.

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Tom Simpson withdrew from the race on the final stage to rest for his next race, Milan–San Remo; after breaking away by himself he stopped beside the road, which annoyed his fellow riders.

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At Milan–San Remo, Tom Simpson was in a four-rider breakaway; his tyre punctured, and although he got back to the front, he finished nineteenth.

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Tom Simpson placed third in the Tour of Flanders in a three-rider sprint.

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In Paris–Roubaix Tom Simpson worked for teammate, and winner, Emile Daems, finishing ninth.

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Tom Simpson's bike slipped a gear, and Stablinski stayed away for the victory.

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Tom Simpson announced that he would not ride the Tour de France, concentrating on the world road championships instead.

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At the road world championships in Ronse, Belgium, the Belgians controlled the race until Tom Simpson broke free, catching two riders ahead: Henry Anglade and Shay Elliott.

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Tom Simpson's season ended with six-day races across Europe and an invitation only race on the Pacific island of New Caledonia, along with other European riders.

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Tom Simpson skipped his usual winter training schedule for his first skiing holiday at Saint-Gervais-les-Bains in the Alps, taking Helen and his two young daughters, Jane and Joanne.

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On final climb, the Poggio, Poulidor launched a series of attacks on the group; only Tom Simpson managed to stay with him and they crossed the summit and descended into Milan.

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Tom Simpson later discovered that he rode the Tour suffering from tapeworms.

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Tom Simpson crashed on the third lap while descending in wet conditions, damaging a pedal.

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Tom Simpson got back to the peloton, launching a solo attack on a descent; he then chased down the group of four leaders with two laps to go.

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Tom Simpson was the only one who could follow, but he began to feel the effects of not eating.

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Tom Simpson family spent Christmas in England, before a trip to Saint-Gervais-les-Bains, where Tom Simpson injured himself skiing, suffering a broken foot and a sprained ankle.

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Tom Simpson abandoned Milan–San Remo at the foot of the Poggio.

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Tom Simpson rode alone before slipping on oil mixed with water; he stayed with the front group, finishing tenth.

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Tom Simpson's derny broke down, and he was delayed changing motorbikes.

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Peugeot manager Gaston Plaud ordered Tom Simpson to ride the Midi Libre stage race to earn a place in the Tour de France, and he finished third overall.

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Tom Simpson developed bronchitis after stage fifteen and cracked on the next stage, losing nearly nineteen minutes.

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Tom Simpson's hand became infected, but he rode the next three stages before the Tour doctor stopped him from racing.

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Tom Simpson was taken to hospital, where they operated on his hand and treated him for blood poisoning, bronchitis and a kidney infection.

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Tom Simpson escaped with Motta, and dropped him before the finish in Como to win his third "monument" classic over three minutes ahead of the rest.

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Tom Simpson was the second world champion to win in Italy; the first was Alfredo Binda in 1927.

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Tom Simpson was offered lucrative contracts by teams, including Flandria–Faema–Clement who were prepared to pay him the year's salary in advance.

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Tom Simpson ended the year second to Anquetil in the Super Prestige Pernod International, and won the Daily Express Sportsman of the Year, the Sports Journalists' Association Sportsman of the Year, presented by the Prime Minister Harold Wilson, and the BBC Sports Personality of the Year.

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In British cycling Tom Simpson won the British Cycling Federation Personality of the Year and the Bidlake Memorial Prize.

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Tom Simpson was given the freedom of Sint-Amandsberg; his family, including his parents, were driven in an open-top car along the crowd-lined route from the Cafe Den Engel to the Town Hall.

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Tom Simpson missed contract races, crucial training and most of the spring classics.

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Tom Simpson's injury did not stop the press from naming him a favourite for the Tour de France.

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Tom Simpson was subdued in the race until stage twelve, when he forced a breakaway with Altig, finishing second.

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Tom Simpson again finished second in the next stage, jumping clear of the peloton in a three-rider group in the final kilometres.

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Tom Simpson was joined by Ford France–Hutchinson's Julio Jimenez on the climb of the Telegraphe to the Galibier.

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Tom Simpson was caught by a chase group descending the Galibier before he crashed again, knocked off his bike by a press motorcycle.

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Tom Simpson retired from the road world championships at the Nurburgring with cramp.

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Tom Simpson rode six-day races, finishing fourteenth in the winter rankings.

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Tom Simpson felt his chances were good because this Tour was contested by national, rather than professional teams.

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Free to join a new team for the 1968 season, he was offered at least ten contracts; Tom Simpson had a verbal agreement with Italian team Salvarani, and would share its leadership with Felice Gimondi.

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Tom Simpson said he wanted retire from road racing aged 33, to ride on the track and spend more time with his family.

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Tom Simpson moved into the lead the next day as part of a breakaway, missed by Merckx, which finished nearly twenty minutes ahead.

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Merckx thought Tom Simpson double-crossed him, but Tom Simpson was a passive member of the break.

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At the start of stage six, Tom Simpson was in second place behind Bic–Hutchinson's Rolf Wolfshohl.

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Tom Simpson finished over a minute ahead of Wolfshohl, putting him in the race leader's white jersey.

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Tom Simpson held the lead in the next two stages to win the race.

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Tom Simpson nearly quit the race before the fifth stage, from Salamanca to Madrid, but rode it because it was easier to get home by air from Madrid.

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Tom Simpson won the stage, attacking from a breakaway, and finished second in stage seven.

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Tom Simpson won stage sixteen, which ended in San Sebastian, and finished the Vuelta thirty-third overall.

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Tom Simpson was determined to make an impact in the Tour de France; in his eighth year as a professional cyclist, he hoped for larger appearance fees in post-Tour criteriums to help secure his financial future after retirement.

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Tom Simpson's plan was to finish in the top three, or to wear the yellow jersey at some point in the race.

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Tom Simpson targeted three key stages, one of which was the thirteenth, over Mont Ventoux, and planned to ride conservatively until the race reached the mountains.

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Tom Simpson placed in 39th position on stage 11 and 7th on stage 12.

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Tom Simpson was in the front group before slipping back to a group of chasers about a minute behind.

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Tom Simpson then began losing control of his bike, zig-zagging across the road.

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Hall tried to persuade Simpson to stop, saying: "Come on Tom, that's it, that's your Tour finished", but Simpson said he wanted to continue.

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Tommy Simpson rode to his death in the Tour de France so doped that he did not know he had reached the limit of his endurance.

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Tom Simpson died in the saddle, slowly asphyxiated by intense effort in a heatwave after taking methylamphetamine drugs and alcoholic stimulants.

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French authorities confirmed that Tom Simpson had traces of amphetamine in his body, impairing his judgement and allowing him to push himself beyond his limits.

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Tom Simpson's death contributed to the introduction of mandatory testing for performance-enhancing drugs in cycling, leading to tests in 1968 at the Giro d'Italia, Tour de France and Summer Olympics.

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Tom Simpson was buried in Harworth Cemetery, after a service at the 12th-century village church attended by an estimated 5,000 mourners, including Peugeot teammate Eddy Merckx, the only continental rider in attendance.

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Unlike the majority of his contemporaries, Tom Simpson was open about the use of drugs in professional cycling.

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Tom Simpson showed me the box, and had to take one every few days.

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Tom Simpson's opinion was that Simpson did not take drugs to gain an unfair advantage, but because "he was not going to be beaten by a pill".

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Tom Simpson was obsessed with dieting since 1956, when he was mentored by Cyril Cartwright.

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The Harworth and Bircotes Sports and Social Club has a small museum dedicated to Tom Simpson, opened by Belgian cyclist Lucien Van Impe in August 2001.

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In 2010, Tom Simpson was inducted into the British Cycling Hall of Fame.

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Tom Simpson inspired Simpson Magazine, which began in March 2013.

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Tom Simpson is the maternal uncle of retired Belgian-Australian cyclist Matthew Gilmore, whose father, Graeme, was a cyclist.

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The 2000 book Mr Tom: The True Story of Tom Simpson, written by Simpson's nephew, Chris Sidwells, focuses on his career and family life.

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Tom Simpson spoke fluent French, and was competent in Flemish and Italian.

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