More recently, he was involved as production editor of the Chronicle, a monthly community newspaper he helped to found in the Tanat and Cain valleys. Although rugby writing formed the backbone of his career - he began writing reports when he was at Swansea University in the 1950s - he established a high reputation in other fields. He became an expert on the Tour de France, which he covered for 19 years. His book The Great Bike Race, published in 1977, is regarded as a classic observation of this great event.
He wrote several other sporting books, his last as co-author of Cliff Morgan's best-selling autobiography. He made his bow as a newspaper executive as deputy sports editor to Chris Brasher at the Observer in the 1960s and was sports features editor of the Sunday Times before returning to the Observer, where he became sports editor in 1976. He returned to writing after helping to launch the Independent, moved to the Sunday Correspondent and then to the Independent on Sunday, on whose strength he remained until his death. He is survived by his wife Mavis, the television interviewer and columnist, and three sons.
Simon Kelner, the editor of the Independent, said: "The world of sports journalism has lost a singular talent. Those who knew Geoffrey have lost a loyal and precious friend."