Olympic cyclist Bradley Wiggins unveils tribute to his hero in County Durham

Sir Bradley Wiggins unveiling a monument in honour of cyclist Tommy Simpson.
Sir Bradley Wiggins unveiling a monument in honour of cyclist Tommy Simpson.

Legendary cyclist Bradley Wiggins history once again when he visited County Durham to unveil a tribute to his sporting idol.

The Olympian was in Haswell Village to unveil a monument in honour of cyclist Tommy Simpson - who died 50 years ago aged just 29 during the Tour De France.

Simpson, who was born in Haswell Village, collapsed on Mount Ventoux during the race in 1967 and is regarded as one of Britain’s greatest ever cyclists.

He remains one of the most revered - and controversial - figures in the sport after traces of amphetamines were found in his body.

As the monument went on display - in the grounds of the Haswell Community Centre - 500 cycling fans turned out to see Sir Bradley who made a speech to the crowd.

Alan Liversidge, chairman of the Haswell History Society and Haswell Community Centre, said it was a fantastic day.

He said: “It was an event that we had been planning for some time and Mr Simpson’s nieces Judith Walton and Maggie Parker helped to contact Sir Bradley to invite him along.

“It was a really good day and we were fortunate with the weather.

“Bradley unveiled the monument by pulling off both the Belgian flag and the Union Jack from the monument, which was in reference the time that Tommy spent in Belgium training when he was at his best.

“Sir Bradley spoke to people and spent a lot of time with them and he said that he didn’t expect it to be such a big occasion.

“He said how Tommy Simpson has been his idol when he was a boy and he seemed pleased to see a lot of youngsters from local cycling clubs there.

“I think everybody who came along enjoyed it.”