Book Reviews

Put Me Back on My Bike: In Search of Tom Simpson (Yellow Jersey Cycling Classics) by William Fotheringham

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List Price: £11.99

 

Paperback: 272 Pages.

Published: 07 June 2007 by Yellow Jersey

Edition: New Ed

ISBN: 0224080180

EAN: 9780224080187

Tom Simpson was an Olympic medallist, world champion and the first Briton to wear the fabled yellow jersey of the Tour de France. He died a tragic early death on the barren moonscape of the Mont Ventoux during the 1967 Tour. Forty years on, hundreds of fans still make the pilgrimage to the windswept memorial which marks the spot where he died.

A man of contradictions, Simpson was one of the first cyclists to admit to using banned drugs, and was accused of fixing races, yet the dapper 'Major Tom' inspired awe and affection for the obsessive will to win which was ultimately to cost him his life.

Reviews

5.0 Stars5.0 Stars5.0 Stars5.0 Stars5.0 Stars  by Anne

A fascinating story of the cost of sporting achievement

In July 1967 Tom Simpson died riding his bike up a mountain in the Tour de France. This book is about Simpson's death and what led up to it. It is a tale of a an ordinary man who did not know when to quit, who needed the fame and the money, who was tied into an unfair racing system and who had a substantial amount of performance enhancing drugs in his pocket when he expired.

The author tells the history of Simpson's rise to fame as the first British cyclist to don the famed yellow jersey of the race leader and the pressures which resulted in his bad decision making and ultimately his death. In doing so, the author is clear that Simpson was attempting to cheat but he also demonstrates how the habit of drug taking was endemic in the sport and why riders took the risk. He also throws a light on why Simpson died when so many others who did the same thing did not.

Despite the depressing subject matter this is actually a fascinating book full of interesting snippets of information and details about the sportsmen of the time and the sport of professional cycling. It is very easy to read and by the end you will understand Simpson much better and probably even have grown to like him, although probably not to excuse what he did.

 
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