There can have been few British schoolchildren who grew up with the Tour de France in the 1970s, but I was one who did. I would come out of school in July to find my father in the car listening to French radio’s Tour coverage, and I smuggled copies ofMiroir du Cyclisme into lessons to read inside my books. I saw the Tour for the first time in 1984, and “lived” that year’s race through television in the Normandy village where I lived (and raced, not very successfully).
I began writing about bike racing in 1988 and was covering the Tour de France within two years, one of maybe half a dozen British journalists on the race. I spent much of the 1990s writing for Cycling Weekly and Cycle Sport, combining that with work for the Guardian, who talked me into covering the Tour for them in 1994.
In 1999 Jeremy Whittle and I launched procycling as a joint web and print venture; it’s been curiously satisfying to watch it go from strength to strength in the last few years.
Next up came a spell working at the sports desk in the Guardian in which I began covering rugby as well as cycling, reporting on the World Cup in 2003, by which time my first full-length book, Put Me Back on My Bike, had sold getting on for 25,000 copies. Since then I’ve juggled authorship and newspaper work; since the Athens Olympics the Great Britain team and its spin-offs have become the focus as the likes of Chris Hoy, Victoria Pendleton, Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish have become national celebrities.
Here are some recent interviews I’ve given: