Veteran cyclist Brian Robinson injured after being hit by a car has given the thumbs up from his hospital bed.
Brian, 83, of Mirfield, the first Briton to win a stage of the Tour de France, was knocked off his bike and suffered a fractured collarbone, six broken ribs and a punctured lung.
Brian, who still rides at least twice a week, had been to Castleford with friends on Wednesday.
He was on his way home at 1.20pm when he was in collision with a Volkswagen Passat in Lees Hall Road, Thornhill Lees, Dewsbury.
Emergency services were called and Brian was taken to Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield where he remains.
His son-in-law and Mirfield councillor Martyn Bolt, also a keen cyclist, said Brian was in good spirits and smiling through the pain.
“Brian has been very touched by all the response to what happened,” he said. “There have been good wishes on social media from across the world.”
Brian, who won a Tour stage in 1958, quickly became a forgotten hero. It was only half a century later that his achievements were remembered.
Then he became a star all over again when the Tour de France Grand Depart came to Yorkshire this month. He became one of the faces of the Tour in Yorkshire.
Clr Bolt said: “Brian is still a keen cyclist and goes out for 30 or 40 miles at a time.
“These days he uses a powered bike, which is heavier than a normal bike, and he was unable to lift his bike over a footbridge at Horbury so he left his friends and carried on home. That’s why he was on his own at the time of the accident.
“Brian took a heavy fall and, 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.”
Clr Bolt said the cyclist’s wife Audrey dashed to his bedside at the surgical assessment unit at Pinderfields Hospital after hearing the news.
Brian 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 three years later.
He was an ambassador for the Grand Depart which saw millions of fans line the county’s streets to cheer on the world’s best cyclists earlier this month.
Clr 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.”
Gary Verity, the man behind Yorkshire’s Tour de France bid, offered his best wishes on Twitter saying: “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.”
Police have appealed for witnesses and Sgt 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.”
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