We have been unhappy to listen to of the passing of certainly one of Britain’s high riders within the 50s and 60s – Brian Robinson. As a remembrance of Brian, right here is an interview from a couple of years go the place he spoke with Ed Hood about his win the French stage race, the Dauphine Libere. Relaxation in peace champion.
“Pioneer,” did somebody say “pioneer?” He was the primary English speaker to win a Tour de France stage, the primary English speaker to face on the rostrum of a basic; Milan – San Remo, and…the primary English speaker to win the Dauphine Libere. He’s Yorkshire’s Brian Robinson. Ed Hood had the chance to select the mind of one of many trailblazers.
PEZ: It should have been an excellent yr for you, 1961 Brian?
Brian: It was an excellent yr for me, but it surely was additionally my final good yr, the next yr was the tip of my profession.
PEZ: Did the Dauphine have the identical standing, again then?
Brian: Oh sure! That was again within the days of nationwide groups within the Tour and it was an necessary choice race. The French would depart three or 4 locations up for grabs and make the ultimate alternatives relying on who had proven good kind on the Dauphine. Again then, it was the fourth most prestigious race on this planet, within the pecking order it solely got here after the three Grand Excursions. It was eight levels, if I bear in mind, any greater than that and it might have been an excessive amount of earlier than the Tour.
PEZ: Inform us concerning the parcours.
Brian: It used to go over a whole lot of the large cols that the Tour climbed, just like the Ventoux, however to be trustworthy, I don’t bear in mind the specifics of the route that yr, though I believe that there was a crew time trial. One of many issues that you just remorse after your professional profession is over, is that you just don’t maintain particular data of all this stuff – and it was a very long time in the past!
PEZ: Do you bear in mind the decisive second within the race?
Brian: Very nicely! We had the German rider, Rolf Wohlfsol on our Rapha squad. He had the jersey and my position was to be a ‘policeman,’ for him, going with any breaks. On stage three to Brest (from Saint Brieuc, 170 km) two guys cleared off, I went with them and the bunch wasn’t . I used to be sitting on and my Director Sportif got here up and mentioned that I shouldn’t impede the opposite two however I shouldn’t contribute a lot both.
On the finish we had 10 minutes and I received the stage – I needed to! I additionally took the jersey, it was good ways by our crew. You would possibly go together with 20 assaults and none of them succeed, however you then get in a single like that and it really works out for you.
PEZ: Any awkward moments?
Brian: Not likely, however my crew mate Mastrotto attacked me to attempt to get a stage win. As I used to be saying, the Dauphine was a range race for the Tour and Mastrotto wished a spot, so he charged off with one other rider, who was additionally searching for choice.
Mastrotto was a little bit of a bulldozer – he simply put his head down and went. My supervisor and I knew what he was doing, however he didn’t win the stage, so he wasn’t that standard with us! He did, nevertheless get his Tour place. (He would additionally win the Dauphine in 1962) Administration angle was completely different again then too.
Throughout all of the years I raced as a professional, I by no means had a supervisor come to me and say; “you’ve bought to do that!” They knew that we wished to win – it was the way you made your cash!
PEZ: Did the crew work nicely for you?
Brian: The crew was fairly cosmopolitan, we had a Belgian, a Dutchman and a German and sure, all of them labored nicely for me. It was the primary time I’d had a crew working for me – and naturally all of them wished to become profitable! It wasn’t like it’s as of late – you may reside off your wages, however actual earnings got here out of your prize cash.
PEZ: Do you assume that you just come out of the Dauphine flying or wasted?
Brian: It is dependent upon your form and your angle. I got here out if it in fine condition; when you have been a extra delicate rider than I used to be, then perhaps it might drain you. However I appreciated the shorter stage races in Might and June. I didn’t like sooner or later races, I thrived on stage racing. The Dauphine is barely eight days, it’s robust, however not so robust in case you have good legs. It’s the poor souls who don’t have good kind that wrestle!
It might be one other 22 years earlier than one other English speaker was to emulate Robinson, an American referred to as Greg Lemond – no matter occurred to him?
# Everybody at PEZ sends their condolences to Brian’s household and pals. #