Cyclists line streets for funeral of Tour de France hero Brian Robinson

Cyclists form guard of honour at Brian Robinson funeral
Cyclists formed a guard of honour at the funeral. Credit: ITV News

More than 100 cyclists joined the funeral procession for Brian Robinson, the first Briton to win a stage of the Tour de France.

Robinson, from Mirfield, West Yorkshire, is renowned as a trailblazer for modern day cycling following his exploits in the world's most famous bike race in 1958. Robinson was laid to rest on Wednesday, 23 November, after his death at the age of 91.

Cyclists formed a guard of honour near Huddersfield Crematorium, raising their bikes on the back wheels as the hearse passed.

ITV's cycling correspondent Ned Boulting, who was there to pay his respects, described Robinson as a "pathfinder" who has left his mark on the sport's history.

In a reference to those who have followed in his tracks, he said without Robinson's achievements "arguably, there's no Bradley Wiggins and there's no Mark Cavendish."

Boulting added: "When Brian was [cycling], it was unheard of. The Brits had no place at the table until Brian came along."

Brian Robinson competing in the Tour de France in 1956. Credit: PA

John Metcalfe, one of the local cyclists in attendance, described Robinson as "a grand fella" who made charitable contributions to cycling.

Mr Metcalfe said: "There were no airs and graces about him. He was just a normal cycling man who enjoyed cycling."

Robinson was the first Briton to complete the Tour de France in 1955, aged 24. He became the first British cyclist to win a stage of the race three years later.

In October, Robinson's death was announced by his grandson and fellow cyclist Jake Womersley.

Others described him as a "true pioneer".

After his death, a spokesperson for British Cycling said: "Brian blazed a trail for countless British riders who have since followed in his path, and will be remembered as much for his kindness and generosity as his accomplishments on the bike."

Brian Robinson in 2014 Credit: ITV News

The life and times of Brian Robinson

Robinson was born in Mirfield, West Yorkshire, in 1930. In interviews he described adoring bikes growing up, and joined Huddersfield Road Club as a teenager.

Alongside Desmond, his brother, Robinson competed for Britain in the Olympics in Finland in 1952 before he went on to make Tour history.

Robinson marked a new era in British cycling when he was one of the first two Britons, along with Tony Hoar, to finish the Tour in 1955. He finished 29th overall.

In 1958, Robinson made history once again, winning stage seven of the Tour, from Saint-Brieuc to Brest. He initially crossed the line second, but was placed first after Italian rider Arrigo Padovan was relegated from first place.

A year later, in 1959, Robinson secured his second Tour de France victory, winning stage 20, from Annecy to Chalon-sur-Saone, by a full 20 minutes.

After writing his name into the cycling history books, Brian rounded off his career with a win in the 1961 Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré.

After retiring in 1962, aged 33, he returned to his previous profession as a carpenter.

It was only later in life that Robinson's feats were fully recognised. In 2014, he was made an ambassador for that year's historic Tour de France Grand Depart, in his native county Yorkshire.

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know.