Saturday, July 14, 2007

TdF Stage 6: Measure Of A Man

It's been a long week, and we have a big day tomorrow, so just a short note about the Tom Simpson anniversary. David Millar lamented to VeloNewsTV that today's 40th anniversary of Simpson's death on Mont Ventoux was getting short shrift at the Tour. As VeloNews also noted, to comical effect, journalists were disappointed to hear at the end of the stage that Bradley Wiggins' escapades had nothing to do with Simpson. Wiggins hadn't even expected to be alone on the break, just turned out that way. Versus advertised a feature on Simpson in primetime, but it was a disappointing little afterthought.

It was left to John Wilcockson to give the proper tribute, in a stirring piece at VeloNews. "Simpson remembered" is a very apt title, for his piece is a true memory that brings that day richly to life. For many of us, the unfortunate image of Simpson is the grainy black-and-white film of vain resuscitation attempts and the cautionary tale that brought on the first modern anti-doping measures. So it is nice, and humbling, to be reminded that Simpson was so much more than that. Wilcockson gives a full picture of the man, and an emotional first-hand account of that July in 1967.

In this day and age, when I'm checking the internet constantly for live updates and post-race reports, and watching the stages live on television, it's amazing to think Wilcockson didn't even find out about Simpson's death until the next morning, and he was there at the race and knew Simpson personally. But the important thing is that he did know him, and gave us all a gift today with his memories.

Just one observation on the race - much was made, myself included, about Vino's slit to the throat motion. But upon watching it again, I think maybe he was just asking the cameraman to give him a break, let him suffer the finish in peace. He intends to start tomorrow, but I fear it will be very painful for him, and very painful for us to watch.


cat2bike said...

I haven't been to Velo News since early this morning. I got to see some of the stage, and got to the bike shop in time to watch the finish. I'm sure Boonen is proud of himself; gotta keep that superstar image!

I will read about Tom Simpson on VN. The Versus tribute was kinda of lacking.
I'm getting up at 5am to ride 50mi; the Pancake ride...don't get the pancakes til you are done.

And thank you Julie, for being emotional and involved, it's nice not to be alone, isn't it?

cat2bike said...

I wish the press would cut Vino some slack!!

Julie said...

Yes, T, good to have company! :-) Hope your ride went well!