On-on-on, Urban Hunter launch Tom Simpson t-shirt

T-shirt celebrates Tom Simpson's achievements

by Tony Farrelly   May 27, 2009  


Urban Hunter have launced a new range of t-shirts to celebrate the memory of legendary British cyclist Tom Simpsom 42 years after his death on the slopes of Mont Ventoux brought on by a combination of heat exhaustion and amphetamines.

Ventoux "the Giant of Provence" is likely to play a pivotal role in this year's Tour as the penultimate stage before the race hits Paris that fact plus a meeting with Simpson's friend and teammate Vin Denson is what inspired Urban Hunter to create their Simpson t-shirts in collaboration with US outfit Gage & DeSoto.

The 'On-on-on' t-shirt takes its name from Simpson's actual last words to Harry Hall on the slopes of the Ventoux and while some might question celebrating the achievements of a drug taking cyclist Richard from Urban Hunter makes a plea for understanding arguing that Simpson's doping should be judged within the context of the times:

“Tom Simpson’s cycling career was simply breathtaking. In 1960, his first season as a pro, he came within one stage placing of winning the yellow jersey in his first Tour de France. In the 1962 Tour he wore the yellow jersey and finished sixth overall. He took Paris-Nice in 1967. But remember the long events such as the 3 week Tour were not his forte. His great events were the one-day classics or week-long races. He could ride these in his all or nothing, aggressive, swashbucking style. He was always great to watch, spectators loved him. He won the Tour of Flanders (1961), Bordeaux-Paris (1963), Milan-San Remo (1964) and the Tour of Lombardy (1965). He was World Champion of the Road in 1965, his greatest achievement. It would be 32 years before another Brit would wear the yellow maillot jaune of the Tour again. It would be 45 years before another Brit, Mark Cavendish, would win Milan-San Remo again.”

Simpson was a great cyclist who paid the ultimate price for doping at a time when it was very much more accepted than it is today and while his memory may still stir controversy for some, he is also remembered with a great deal of affection and respect as anyone who has ever seen the monument to him on Mont Ventoux will testify.

The Urban Hunter t-shirt features the famous Peugeot checkerboard pattern and are available in a range of colours for £21.95. To find out more visit www.urbanhunter.biz

7 user comments

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Why is Simpson always portrayed as a 'Victim of Doping'?

He died from a combination of factors, one of which was doping. The others were having the mindset to ride himself into the ground anyway, racing while ill and malnourished up a brutal mountain in brutal heat; yet I don't hear any moralising Anti- Ventoux campaigners.

posted by wild man [283 posts]
29th May 2009 - 10:51

1 Like

Is he always portrayed as a victim of doping?

I'd say he was simply a man of his time who died through the combination of circumstances you mention, he certainly knew what he was doing because everyone else was doing it too. You could argue I suppose that he was a victim of the system that had been created, but he was a knowing victim who worked the system too. That doesn't disqualify him from being regarded as a great rider though.

I rememer someone once telling me that that the stage start the next day the road was carpetted in pills - he came from an era when nearly every rider doped and many had been quite open about it.

As one of Simpson's former teammates said:
'What you've got to realise is that there was no such thing as banned stimulants for much of that decade. Stimulants were taken by everybody. Period,'

Tony Farrelly's picture

posted by Tony Farrelly [4147 posts]
29th May 2009 - 11:05


certainly the drugs weren't the only factor - from reading will fotheringham's excellent biography it's clear that the man was capable of riding himself practically into a coma, and it's surely that mindset above anything else that pushed him over the edge when other riders would maybe have stepped off. like you say, as far as the actual doping was concerned it was a pretty level playing field, the level being lots of drugs, all the time...

cactuscat's picture

posted by cactuscat [303 posts]
29th May 2009 - 11:35

1 Like

The book shows him as a tough character who would put it all on the line to finish a race and win it.

I suppose doping has always been part of the game and he felt it was a neccessary evil. But back in those days so was alcohol !!!

In fact I seem to think he had consumed brandy on his way up the Ventoux that day.

jimmythecuckoo's picture

posted by jimmythecuckoo [1278 posts]
29th May 2009 - 11:58


yes, didn't they raid a bar… when was the last time Tour riders carried out a raid?

Tony Farrelly's picture

posted by Tony Farrelly [4147 posts]
29th May 2009 - 12:10

1 Like

Great!! These T-Shirts are surely going to be the world's largest selling brand. I would love to buy one for me as well. T-Shirts gives great look if the T Shirt Printing is of high class.

posted by richards [1 posts]
28th August 2009 - 9:53

1 Like

dear me, poor effort at spamming there. From a purely aesthetic standpoint I think the Tees look good, not as good as the road.cc ones will do but, you know, they are up there.

not all carbon is the same.

Jon Burrage's picture

posted by Jon Burrage [1081 posts]
28th August 2009 - 9:59

1 Like