Shane Meadows hopes to make film about Tom Simpson

British cycling star's life "feels like a Hollywood movie script"

This is England director Shane Meadows wants to make a film about Tom Simpson, the British cycling champion who died of exhaustion on Mont Ventoux while taking part in the 1967 Tour de France.


Meadows, who grew up in Simpson’s home county of Nottinghamshire, told the Associated Press: “He’s a Nottingham guy and it’s just one of those legendary stories that feels like a Hollywood movie script, though I wouldn’t treat it like that.”

The film director, who hasn’t yet bought the rights to the story, said he wouldn’t gloss over Simpson’s use of amphetamines while racing because “it was very different then”. No casting decisions have yet been made.

Simpson, born in Haswell, County Durham in 1937, was Britain’s first road world champion (in 1965) and won several other major races, including the 1961 Ronde van Vlaanderen, 1963 Bordeaux – Paris, 1964 Milan – San Remo and 1965 Giro di Lombardia, In 1962, he became the first Briton to wear the yellow jersey in the Tour de France and finished sixth overall (the best placing by a Briton until Robert Millar’s fourth in 1984).

He was looking strong at the start of the 1967 Tour, having won that year’s Paris – Nice and two stages of the Vuelta a España. But 3km from the summit of Mont Ventoux during the 13th stage he began to wobble. After another kilometre he fell off his bike and had to be pushed back on by spectators. He made it a further 300m before collapsing again, this time losing consciousness. A post mortem found drugs and alcohol had combined with the heat, the hard climb and a stomach complaint to cause his death.

The memorial to tom simpson on mont ventoux: the memorial to tom simpson on mont ventoux
Simon Aughton,

This granite memorial to Tom Simpson on Mont Ventoux was paid for by fellow British cyclists