One hundred local cyclists lined the streets during the funeral procession for Brian Robinson, the first rider from the UK to win a stage of the Tour de France. Robinson died on Oct. 26 at the age of 91. The British rider was from West Yorkshire and is heralded as being one of the most important influences on modern day cycling in the country. Robinson won the stage of the Tour in 1958, and paved the way for contemporary British cyclists.
The local cyclists formed a guard of honour with their bikes near Huddersfield Crematorium. A guard of honour is a ceremony usually used in military or state funerals where soldiers line up beside the procession. During the Robinson tribute, riders raised their bicycles on back wheels as the hearse passed by them.
The ceremony was broadcast on ITV news in Britain, with commentary by correspondent Ned Boulting. Boulting mentioned the importance of Robinson to today’s pros. “Without Robinson, arguably, there’s no Bradley Wiggins and there’s no Mark Cavendish.” Boulting said. “When Brian was racing, it was unheard of. The Brits had no place at the table until Brian came along.”
British Cycling President, Bob Howden OBE commented on Robinson’s legacy in a statement:
“As a youngster finding my way into cycling Brian was very much a beacon that shone a light to follow, and many did. He was an example, not just in his success, but with his bravery and fortitude in making a life-changing commitment to take on the world’s best on their own ground and to becoming one of them. With his own background in construction, it might be added that he cleared the ground and laid the foundations for Britain’s future riders, not just for the greats but for many hundreds of others who followed the same dream.”