Tour de France: why I am bidding au revoir to the greatest race of all

After covering 26 Tours I have some wonderful memories but the 2017 race was my last reporting full-time. It is time to spend my Julys doing something else

When I returned from reporting on the Tour de France for the first time I told my then boss, Martin Ayres, that I felt the Tour could be addictive. That was 27 years and 26 Tours ago, which speaks for itself. Now it is time to go through the journalistic equivalent of cold turkey. I have decided this is my last Tour reporting full-time for the Guardian, nearly a quarter of a century after I was first offered the job.

I will return to the race, I would hope, but not as a full-time, daily reporter, which is what I have been for 26 of the past 27 Tours – 20 of them completed in full – with all the stimulus, constraints, rewards and stress that role entails. I won’t be on the road next year; if and when I return it will be at a time of my choosing, to write about it in a different and equally rewarding way. I would hope it will be for the Guardian, but that particular decision can wait.

Related: Why I don’t think Chris Froome will win a fifth Tour de France | William Fotheringham

Related: Women could cycle the Tour de France route, so why give them La Course?

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