German sprinter Marcel Kittel says he has retired from cycling because he “lost all motivation to keep torturing myself on a bike”.
The 31-year-old announced in May he was taking a break from the sport because he was “exhausted”.
But Kittel, who has 19 grand tour stage wins, now says he will not return.
“Can I and do I want to continue to make the sacrifices needed to be a world-class athlete?” said Kittel, who left Team Katusha Alpecin in May.
“And my answer is ‘no’. I do not want that any more, because I have always found the limitations on a top athlete as an increasing loss of quality of life.
“That is why I am very happy and proud that, at this point in my life, I can make the decision to follow my heart in a new direction.”
Kittel, who won the last of his 14 Tour de France stage victories in 2017, will also become a father in November and says he “didn’t want to watch my son grow up via Skype”.
“I know that there is much more than just sport, for example my own future family,” he said.
Speaking to German magazine Der Spiegel he added: “The sport and the world you live in are defined by pain.
“You don’t have time for family and friends, and then there’s the perpetual tiredness and routine.”