The cyclist Tom Simpson was an Olympic medallist, world champion and the first Briton to wear the fabled yellow jersey of the Tour de France. He died a tragic early death on the barren moonscape of the Mont Ventoux during the 1967 Tour. Almost 35 years on, hundreds of fans still make the pilgrimage to the windswept memorial which marks the spot where he died. A man of contradictions, Simpson was one of the first cyclists to admit to using banned drugs, and was accused of fixing races, yet the dapper "Major Tom" inspired awe and affection for the obsessive will to win which was ultimately to cost him his life. This is an authoritative evaluation of Simpson's death, and of the life that led to it, revisiting the places and people associated with him.
William Fotheringham is 36 years old. He was born in Somerset and after leaving school went to Cambridge University to study Languages. He has raced bikes for over twenty years but so far has resisted the temptation to take drugs.