Brian Robinson was chosen as ambassador of the 2014 Tour de France when the race began in Leeds ©Getty Images

International cycling road racer Brian Robinson, who has died aged 91, has been described as a "trailblazer and pioneer of cycling" by the Tour de France organisation.

He was one of the first British riders to forge a reputation in European road racing and in 1958, was the first to win a stage of the Tour when he won the 170 kilometres stage 7 from St Brieuc to Brest in Britanny in the North West of France.

In 1959, he also took the stage from Annecy to Chalon-sur-Saône with a victory margin of 20 minutes.

Robinson had joined a local cycling club as a teenager and fitted in cycling with work in the family firm.

He rode as an amateur in the Helsinki 1952 Olympic road race, where he finished 27th in a field of 111, alongside his older brother Desmond.

As a professional, he had been the first British rider to make the podium at the Milan to San Remo race, a milestone he achieved in 1957.

Then in 1961, came victory in the Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré.

It was little wonder that many saw him as an inspiration for later British cyclists such as Tommy Simpson and Barry Hoban.

Robinson retired at the age of 31, but continued to ride and his daughter Louise also became an Olympian in cross country mountain bike at the Sydney 2000 Olympics.

He was also President of the Dave Rayner fund which helped British riders race on the continent.

Robinson continued to ride a bike when he was well into his eighties despite a crash.

He was chosen as the ambassador when the opening stage of the 2014 Tour, known as Le Grand Depart, began from Leeds in his native Yorkshire.

His passing, only a few days before what would have been his 92nd birthday, was announced by his grandson and fellow cyclist Jake Womersley.