Urban Hunter have launced a new range of t-shirts to celebrate the memory of legendary British cyclist Tom Simpsom 42 years after his death on the slopes of Mont Ventoux brought on by a combination of heat exhaustion and amphetamines.
Ventoux "the Giant of Provence" is likely to play a pivotal role in this year's Tour as the penultimate stage before the race hits Paris that fact plus a meeting with Simpson's friend and teammate Vin Denson is what inspired Urban Hunter to create their Simpson t-shirts in collaboration with US outfit Gage & DeSoto.
The 'On-on-on' t-shirt takes its name from Simpson's actual last words to Harry Hall on the slopes of the Ventoux and while some might question celebrating the achievements of a drug taking cyclist Richard from Urban Hunter makes a plea for understanding arguing that Simpson's doping should be judged within the context of the times:
“Tom Simpson’s cycling career was simply breathtaking. In 1960, his first season as a pro, he came within one stage placing of winning the yellow jersey in his first Tour de France. In the 1962 Tour he wore the yellow jersey and finished sixth overall. He took Paris-Nice in 1967. But remember the long events such as the 3 week Tour were not his forte. His great events were the one-day classics or week-long races. He could ride these in his all or nothing, aggressive, swashbucking style. He was always great to watch, spectators loved him. He won the Tour of Flanders (1961), Bordeaux-Paris (1963), Milan-San Remo (1964) and the Tour of Lombardy (1965). He was World Champion of the Road in 1965, his greatest achievement. It would be 32 years before another Brit would wear the yellow maillot jaune of the Tour again. It would be 45 years before another Brit, Mark Cavendish, would win Milan-San Remo again.”
Simpson was a great cyclist who paid the ultimate price for doping at a time when it was very much more accepted than it is today and while his memory may still stir controversy for some, he is also remembered with a great deal of affection and respect as anyone who has ever seen the monument to him on Mont Ventoux will testify.
The Urban Hunter t-shirt features the famous Peugeot checkerboard pattern and are available in a range of colours for £21.95. To find out more visit www.urbanhunter.biz
Tony has been editing cycling magazines and websites since 1997 starting out as production editor and then deputy editor of Total Bike, acting editor of Total Mountain Bike and then seven years as editor of Cycling Plus. He launched his first cycling website - the Cycling Plus Forum at the turn of the century. In 2006 he left C+ to head up the launch team for Bike Radar which he edited until 2008, when he co-launched the multi-award winning road.cc - which he continues to edit today. His favourite ride is his ‘commute’ - which he does most days inc weekends and he’s been cycle-commuting since 1994. His favourite bikes are titanium and have disc brakes.