Pioneer of British Cycling, Brian Robinson Dies at the Age of 91

At the age of 91, pioneering British cyclist Brian Robinson passed away. His former rider grandson Jake Womersley confirmed the news Wednesday morning. Robinson won stage 7 of the 1958 Tour de France, making him the first British cyclist to win a stage.

In 1959, he won a second stage of the race after being alone for a long time. On stage 20, which went from Annecy to Chalon sur Saône and was 202 kilometres long, he beat the rest of the riders by about 20 minutes.

Robinson was born in Yorkshire, England in 1930. He started riding bikes when he was young, but his father wouldn’t let him race until he was 18. Before he turned pro, he worked in his family’s construction business and rode before and after his shifts to train.

In the early 1950s, when he was doing national service for the British Army, he started racing internationally. He competed at the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki, Finland, with his brother Desmond.

After coming in second place overall at the Tour of Britain in 1954, the following year was his big break. He finished eighth overall at Paris-Nice, just over two minutes behind Jean Bobet and fourth at Flèche Wallonne in the spring.

In the summer, he was one of nine riders chosen to represent his Hercules team at the Tour de France. Hercules was the first British team to ride in the Tour de France. Robinson was only the third British rider to do so and he was one of only two riders on the team who made it all the way to Paris.

After that, Robinson’s career took off and he went on to finish eighth overall at the 1956 Vuelta a Espaa and fourteenth overall at that year’s Tour. At the 1957 GP Nice, he beat three-time Tour de France winner Louison Bobet by 50 seconds to win his first big international race. He also came in third at the Milan-San Remo race that same year.

In 1958, he finally won a stage of the Tour, but Arrigo Padovan got there first. The Italian lost first place because he didn’t sprint in a steady way. That same year, he also won the Paris-Nice mountain classification.

After winning a second Tour stage the next year, he went on to win the Critérium du Dauphiné overall in 1961. Robinson quit after the 1962 season, when he was 33 years old.

Robinson’s success made it possible for British riders like Tom Simpson and the ones riding professionally now to follow in his footsteps.

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