Tom Simpson: Bird on the Wire
WINNER – 2017 William Hill Sports Book of the Year
WINNER – 2018 Sports Book Awards, Cycling Book of the Year
Tom Simpson is British cycling’s greatest icon. Fifty years after he conquered the continental sporting scene, he still captivates people around the world. After his dramatic death on Mont Ventoux during the 1967 Tour de France, amphetamines and alcohol were found in his system, a fact which which often dwarfs his pioneering achievements. From a humble upbringing in a Nottinghamshire mining town, Simpson became the first Briton to win the elite men’s World Championships and to wear the Tour de France’s yellow jersey. He also took victory at Milan – Sanremo, the Tour of Flanders and the Tour of Lombardy, three of cycling’s most prestigious races.
A charismatic and impulsive character, Simpson lived life fast, with a penchant for spectacular racing, sports cars and fanciful dreams. This man of contradictions was both people’s champion and pariah, gentleman and rogue. Guided by rare photography of Simpson, this book explores the Briton’s feats and complexities through untold stories from those closest to him.
Main protagonists and interviews: Jan Janssen, Raymond Poulidor, Gianni Motta, Barry Hoban, Emile Daems, Brian Robinson, Vin Denson, Helen Hoban, Joanne Simpson, Henri Duez, Charly Wegelius, Dave Bonner, Billy Holmes, Keith Butler, Pete Ryalls and Professor Greg Whyte OBE.
Author biography: Andy McGrath is a London-based cycling journalist and the managing editor of Rouleur. He has worked at Cycling Weekly and Cycle Sport, and written for The Guardian, The Financial Times and others. He co-authored the Official Treasures of the Tour de France and edited the Rouleur publication “Merckx: The Greatest”.
With a foreword by Sir Bradley Wiggins
Published by Rapha Editions and produced by Bluetrain Publishing Ltd.
What the reviewers had to say:
'Very well written and looks fabulous'
– Simon Mayo, BBC R2
'A fascinating and insightful read'
– Cycling Weekly
'As the marvellous collection of photographs shows, Simpson was so completely dedicated to his sport, he was head and shoulders above his domestic rivals.'
– Bristol Post
'This book's principle focus is, as it should be, on his riding, the photography supplementing an extraordinary tale.'
– The Pink Southampton
"Rarely does a book meet its aim so perfectly. Innovative design, scrupulous research and stunning photography complement each other superbly to produce Andy McGrath’s outstanding and startlingly intimate portrait of a British sporting icon. Like another former Bookie Prize winner, Lance Armstrong, Tom Simpson was hugely talented and single-minded, but flawed. Tom Simpson’s tragic morality tale inspires awe and respect, yet also unease amongst those who have seen domestic cycling reach international heights he could only have guessed at."
– Graham Sharpe, William Hill’s Chairman of the judging panel, commenting on Andy McGrath’s victory.
"This is not only a fantastic read, but also a highly covetable object. With it’s combination of an extraordinary subject matter paired with beautifully written prose, bold design and imagery, it offers the ultimate reading experience.”
– John Inverdale, TV presenter, broadcaster and member of the judging panel of the 2017 William Hill Sports Book of the Year
More information on the award here
Buy the book here
Interview with Andy McGrath here