Back in 2008, my first season, I was asked by my Slipstream team to do a daily report at races for their website. I enjoyed it, my writing was appreciate­d and the talent scouts at Procycling asked if I would be interested in scribing for the mag. Thirteen seasons later I’m still here, having typed out every word of the 169 columns that have appeared on these pages, often just scraping in ahead of deadline after numerous panicky emails and texts from editors. I enjoyed it, it kept my brain active, though stringing a few sentences together was sometimes a challenge halfway through a grand tour. There’s a certain poetry about the magazine’s demise happening just as I have decided to end my career. I remember the launch of Procycling in 1999, leafing through the pages as a budding young cyclist. News is at our fingertips now, but there is still nothing like a magazine dropping on your doormat, turning pages to discover what’s next. It’s more tactile than the swipe of a screen. Pushing deadlines to the limit became a habit, not through poor organisati­on but I wanted to be as current as possible. I also often forgot to write the column until the panicky email landed, and I would hurriedly jot some words down on a flight, at the airport terminal or in the team bus. I never struggled for subject matter, though that was aided by some inspiratio­nal briefs from the editor. I do hope it was never boring.

So, retirement. I’m two months in and I guess reality is starting to hit. Until now it was effectivel­y a normal end to the season. A few weeks at home post Lombardia, a holiday in sunnier climes before returning home, only this time I didn’t have to get out on the bike. Now all the December team camps have begun and I’m at Disneyland Paris with my young family. It sums up why I called it a day: these things are difficult to fit in when you are a fully committed road cyclist; you can’t do everything in a four-week off season. Winter has hit with a vengeance in Andorra with heavy snow falls and it makes it much easier to not be going out riding. I’ve started running a bit and catching up on odd jobs around the house that you put off during the season. I’m content with my decision and with every route unveil I feel relief that I don’t need to put my family through the rigours of another year.

I’m struggling to know how to finish off this final column. It’s been an absolute pleasure to share my experience­s over these years with you. I’m sure one day I will be able to look back through all these diaries and it would make a nice summary of my career. Procycling magazine was a part of my childhood and inspired me to get where I did. Thank you for reading and thank you to Procycling. You will be missed.

 ?? ?? Dan climbs in Liège 2009, a race he would go on to win, during his first season as a
Procycling diarist
Dan climbs in Liège 2009, a race he would go on to win, during his first season as a Procycling diarist
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