On the 4th of June, Mr Simpson, currently a Form 5 Tutor, qualified at the Tour of Cambridgeshire (127km in 3hr19m) to race at the UCI Gran Fondo World Championships. With the coveted rainbow jersey up for grabs, it was an opportunity he couldn’t turn down.
Mr Simpson embarked on a busy training schedule, both indoors and outdoors, with Cranleigh Cycling Club.
This year the World Championships were held in Albi, France, consisting of a bumpy 155km course with 2 decent climbs. Having qualified in the 19-34 age category, Mr Simpson was up against some of the best amateur and former professional cyclists from around the world, so the standard was very high.
Although the heat and humidity caused quite a few problems, Mr Simpson managed to stay with the peloton until the first major climb on the route. There were several crashes early on in the race which separated the peloton into two. Despite fighting back to join the first group before the first major climb, the pace and power required were too much to sustain.
Once Mr Simpson was dropped by the peloton, he spent most of the remaining kilometres fighting a head wind back into the city of Albi and encouraging fellow GB competitors from different age groups.
Mr Simpson says “The support from the road side was phenomenal with fans ringing cow bells, running alongside beside you up the climbs and offering bidons. It was an amazing experience and one that I will never forget. However, the true highlight of the whole race weekend was speaking to Robert Marchand, the 106 year old cyclist, who was crowned World Champion in the 95+ age group. I hope I can stay on my bike for that long”.
This academic year Mr Simpson is planning to start a cycling club for pupils, with trips to a velodrome in planning. If anyone is interested, please do let him know.