The 2018 Tour de France is to take place in Australia, it has been announced. The famous bike race will start from Melbourne on 1 July and traverse the vast expanses of the island-continent before finishing in Perth on 23 July.
‘Following passages in Corsica, England and the Benelux in the last three editions, we’ve now decided to go down under”, race director Christian Prudhomme explained. ‘The Tour de France is a global event and we’re taking it to its fans. It’s the way forward, ‘ow you say, “mate”.’
In return, the organisers of Australia’s Tour Down Under have promised that the 2018 edition of their race will take place in Provence, and be re-named the ‘Tour Up Yonder’ for the occasion. ‘This Australian Tour de France will present some of the toughest mountain climbs in the race’s history”, said ITV’s Paul Sherwen. ‘The ascent of Mount Uluru, on roads of red arenite, with possible quick sands in the run-up, should be particularly gruelling and will sort the men from the boys. Not to mention the scorpions, the snakes, the funnel web spiders and the Australians.’
The decision has attracted criticism from Parisian purists, who feel dispossessed of their cherished race. However, it forms part of a wider trend towards ‘deterritorialisation’, according to Professor Harold Jenkins of Cambridge University.
‘The Paris-Dakar rally has been taking place in Latin America for years now,’ he said, ‘and there’s talk of holding the next Nordic ski championships in a giant fridge in Dubai. It’s an open secret that Wimbledon has actually been filmed in Barbados for the last five years. How else would those frequent rain interruptions have mysteriously become a thing of the past?’