Family reveals plans to mark 50th anniversary of Tour de France pioneer Tom Simpson's controversial death

Tom Simpson died during the 1967 Tour de France. Credit: PA

Half a century on from the death of Tour de France pioneer Tom Simpson, his family has revealed how they will remember him.

Simpson, a miner's son from Harworth, was the first Briton to wear the great race's yellow jersey in 1962 but five years later he died during the 13th stage of the Tour.

He was just 29 when he collapsed and died on the Mont Ventoux climb on July 13th 1967, while battling to win an elusive Tour de France title.

Despite his achievements, the death of Simpson cast a shadow over the sport after tests revealed traces of amphetamines and alcohol in his system.

It raised serious questions over drug use in the sport at a time when some of cycling's biggest names talked openly about doping.

I can't believe that after 50 years, all these years that he's such revered with such emotion and such dignity. We're going to celebrate on the 13th of July with family and friends. It will be emotional, no doubt but at the end of the day, we're celebrating his life.

Helen Hoban, Tom Simpson's widow

Five decades on, the Tour de France has been routed away from the scene of his death but his family are keen to celebrate his life on the anniversary next Thursday.

One of his daughters, Joanne, will ride to the summit of the Ventoux before opening 13 granite steps leading to the memorial stone that marks where he collapsed.

Hundreds of friends, family and fans from all over the world are expected to descend on the mountain before a reception at a local winery.

They revealed the plans at a 'Remembering Tom Simpson' event staged by Lincoln Bike Nightat The Venue at Bishop Grosseteste University.

Tom gets a lot of adverse publicity for the way in which he died but it was an era which was as it was in those days.

Barry Hoban, retired Tour de France rider who competed against Tom

Simpson was one of British cycling's first continental success stories. He followed the likes of Brian Robinson, the Mirfield rider who was the first Brit to finish the Tour and later win stage of it, in living and competing abroad at a time when road racing was in its infancy in Britain.

He became the first male Briton to be crowned road race world champion in 1965 and raced alongside the likes of Barry Hoban, who himself won eight career Tour stages, for Great Britain in his last event.

The Lincoln Bike Night event went really well, people really appreciate the history of cycling certainly in this area with Harworth being so close by. And to have the Hobans coming along to talk about their experiences riding with and living with Tom is just brilliant.

Phil Crow, Lincoln Bike Night