The world of British cycling has wished legendary rider Brian Robinson a speedy recovery after he was seriously injured in a crash while out on his bike in West Yorkshire.
The 83-year-old, who was the first Briton to win a stage on the Tour de France in 1958, has been taken to hospital less than a fortnight after he was one of the guests of honour when the famous race visited his home county of Yorkshire earlier this month.
The veteran road racer was cycling with friends on Wednesday when he was hit by a blue Volkswagen Passat just three miles from his home.
Emergency services were called to Lees Hall Road in Thornhill Lees, near Dewsbury, at around 1.20pm and rushed Mr Robinson to hospital where he is being treated for a suspected broken collar bone and cuts and bruises.
The pioneering cyclist’s son-in-law Martyn Bolt, a Conservative councillor for Mirfield in West Yorkshire, said the family was “shaken up” by the crash.
He said: “He was descending a road when the collision happened. He has suffered multiple bruises and lacerations and what looks like a broken collar bone. Skin and blood came off.
“Your leg is one of the places that is hurt when you are hit and bounce across the road, but unlike many cyclists on the Tour de France, he hasn’t got as much padding as some of the younger ones.
“We don’t know how long he will be in hospital for, but we are hoping he will be back on his bike before too long. He likes to go out twice a week to keep fit and spend time with his friends. Inactivity is not something that sits well with him. It has obviously really shaken the family up.”
He said Mr Robinson’s wife Audrey dashed to his bedside at the surgical assessment unit at Pinderfields Hospital, in Wakefield, after hearing the news.
Police have issued a witness appeal following the crash.
Sergeant Rick Lyon, of the Western Area Safer Roads Team, said: “I would urge anyone who was in the area around the time of this collision and either saw the collision itself or the circumstances leading up to it to call either PC Warren Pickard or myself in the Western Area Safer Roads Team on 101.”
Mr Robinson was one of the poster-boys of Yorkshire’s successful bid to get the Grand Depart of the Tour de France to the county.
Only a week-and-a-half ago he was one of the guests of honour when stage one of the Tour finished in Harrogate.
Mr Robinson was introduced to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry on the finish line just before the dramatic end to the day’s racing.
The former Tour rider said at the time: “It’s been absolutely fabulous. The number of people on the course is absolutely amazing. It’s really justified the decision to bring it to Yorkshire and the courage of those who stuck their necks out to get it here.”
Mr Robinson said: “I think it is going to have a great legacy too. It will hopefully mean that more kids and everyone else will be interested in cycling.”
Gary Verity, the man behind Yorkshire’s Tour de France bid, said on Twitter on Wednesday: “Thoughts & prayers tonight for Brian Robinson please.”
Former British cycling Olympic gold medallist Chris Boardman, who won three stages of the Tour de France and wore the yellow jersey on three occasions, tweeted: “Wishing Brian Robinson a speedy recovery.”
Mr Robinson, who lives in the small town of Mirfield, was a trailblazer for British cycling on the continent, becoming the first Briton to finish the Tour de France in 1955 and the first to win a stage in 1958.
Mr Bolt said the crash should be a warning to drivers to look out for cyclists.
He said: “With the legacy of the Tour de France coming to Britain more cyclists will be on their bikes and they can go quite fast.
“Bradley Wiggins was knocked off his bike near his home, and now a Tour de France pioneer has been knocked off his bike just three miles from his home.
“Drivers must be cautious. I would urge everybody to take a couple of seconds to make sure they are not putting somebody’s husband, father or son in jeopardy.”
Mr Bolt said on Twitter on Thursday: “Just rung @MidYorkshireNHS Pinderfields for update on Brian Robinson, he will soon be changing ward for the 3rd time in 12 hours, but is OK.”