09/06/2016 : Important Cycling Items up for Auction
Items belonging to one of the greatest ever British cyclists Tom Simpson are to be sold at a special sports memorabilia auction at Adam Partridge Auctioneers in Macclesfield, including race jerseys, badges, photographs and ephemera.
Simpson was born in County Durham in 1937, and moved with his family to Harworth in Nottinghamshire at the age of 13, where he joined the Harworth and District Cycling Club. He immersed himself in cycling and began winning time trials at the club and competing in road races, before eventually being selected by Great Britain to compete at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics, where he won bronze in the Team Pursuit. Following the Olympics, Simpson moved to France and signed a contract with St. Raphaël-Géminiani-Dunlop for £80 a month, making his first appearance at the Tour de France in 1960 finishing 29th overall. At the 1962 Tour de France, he became the first British rider to wear the yellow jersey, finishing first in the 12th stage. In 1965, Simpson became the first British winner of the Road Race World Championships, obtaining the rainbow jersey that he competed in for the following season, and subsequently became the first cyclist to win the BBC Sports Personality of the Year.
During the 13th stage of the 1967 Tour de France, on the ascent of Mont Ventoux, Simpson (who had been feeling unwell) fell off his bike. He was advised to retire from the race, but he refused to do so. Five hundred yards later, he began to wobble and was helped to the ground by some spectators, by which point he was unconscious. He was airlifted to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead. It was later discovered that he had alcohol and amphetamines in his body, and this combined with the intense heat of the day (which reportedly reached 54°C), caused his heart to fail. He was 29.
There is a memorial to Simpson on the spot that he collapsed on Mont Ventoux, where cyclists regularly visit and leave tributes to him. There is also a small museum in Harworth dedicated to him. Following on from his death, mandatory drug testing for cycling was introduced with tests being carried out at the 1968 Tour de France and the Mexico City Olympics.
Auctioneer Adam Partridge says Simpson’s importance to British sport is immeasurable; “What Tom Simpson achieved in his short time on this Earth is amazing, and modern cyclists such as Jason Kenny and Mark Cavendish looking to compete at the Rio Olympics this year owe a great debt to him. The auction of sporting memorabilia takes place on the 30th July, which will be the 50th anniversary of England’s triumph at the 1966 World Cup. As well as football and cycling, there will be a range of sports represented including golf, cricket and rugby, and we are consigning items up until 11th July.”
For more information, please call 01625 431 788.