Tom Simpson’s World Championships win: 50 years on

Paired with exclusive photography from the Cycling Weekly archive, Chris Sidwells looks back on the year his uncle Tom Simpson won the world title

Tom Simpson (Centre)

Tom Simpson (Centre)

(Image credit: Cycling Weekly archive)

It’s late June 2009 and Britain’s best male road riders start filing into a meeting room at the Celtic Manor Hotel in Newport, South Wales. British Cycling coach Rod Ellingworth is waiting for them. He’s cleared a small area at the front of the room for a DVD player, a big screen TV and something else under a cover. Once the group has settled, the room darkens and some grainy black and white images appear on the TV. It’s a film of Tom Simpson winning the 1965 road race world title.

The group watches in silence. There is no commentary, just clips of the race start, a few shots of famous riders of the day and, towards the end, Simpson and Rudi Altig battling in the rain. It finishes with a delighted Simpson winning the rainbow jersey. The DVD stops, and the lights come up.

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Chris Sidwells
Freelance Journalist & Author

Chris has written thousands of articles for magazines, newspapers and websites throughout the world. He’s written 25 books about all aspects of cycling in multiple editions and translations into at least 25

different languages. He’s currently building his own publishing business with Cycling Legends Books, Cycling Legends Events,, and the Cycling Legends Podcast