Watch: Mark Cavendish tips his helmet to Tom Simpson as he battles Mont Ventoux

British sprinter Cavendish is in the fight to stay in the Tour de France on the mountain stage

Video footage from the slopes of Mont Ventoux shows Mark Cavendish paying tribute to the late Tom Simpson.

Simpson was a pioneering rider, becoming the first Brit to ever wear the yellow jersey in the Tour de France and the first British world champion, before his untimely death on Mont Ventoux during the 1967 Tour. 

Since Simpsons death, it has became a tradition for British riders to pay tribute to the historic figure when passing his memorial, near the summit of the ‘Giant of Provence.’

Cavendish made his own personal tribute to Simpson while ascending Mont Ventoux on stage 11 of the 2021, during the first of two laps over the iconic climb. 

British sprinter Cavendish (Deceuninck - Quick-Step) was in his own battle on stage 11, as he fought to make it through the stage inside the time cut, in the hopes of keeping his green jersey for another day and competing in another sprint stage later in the race. 

Video footage from the side of the mountain, captured by Cycling Weekly, showed Cavendish in green, surrounded by his team-mates, removing his helmet as he passed the Simpson memorial on the way to the summit. 

Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) also nodded his head to the monument on the way past. 

Simpson’s death is deeply etched into the history of cycling and the history of Mont Ventoux, after the Durham-born rider collapsed and died during the ascent of Ventoux on stage 13 of the 1967 Tour. 

A post-mortem examination found that Simpson, 29 years old at the time of his death, had a mixture of amphetamines and alcohol in his system. 

>>> How do Tour de France time cuts work? 

Cavendish has his own place in cycling history, becoming the second ever British world champion after Simpson and winning 33 stages of the Tour de France so far, just one shy of the record held by Eddy Merckx.  

Alex Ballinger
Alex Ballinger

Alex is the digital news editor for CyclingWeekly.com. After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter and now as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output.

Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) and joining CW in 2018, Alex has covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers. 

Away from journalism, Alex is a national level time triallist, avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.