Sporting events on the other side of the world play havoc with Australian’s sleep patterns – Soccer World Cup, Wimbledon and then the Tour de France.
The TDF is definitely my favourite, and it got me thinking about the possibility of something similar in Australia. The Tour Down Under I have witnessed, spending a day at Willunga is actually quite exciting for a couple of minutes – then they come round again.
But these events are made for television and the French have mastered the art of keeping viewers interested with the scenic chopper shots and the quite amazing motorcycle mounted cameras (no helmet-cam yet).
It is the length of the TDF that really sets this event apart (like the Paris – Dakar race for motorised vehicles) taking in the extensive scenery and terrain.
So how could this be achieved in Australia? How about Sydney – Melbourne? Imagine a two week event starting in Melbourne travelling through the Victorian high country then up through NSW ski fields and on to Canberra where the time trials could be held over the middle weekend.
Following a rest day they could head off down the coast through Batemans Bay and up to Wollongong then along the wonderful Sea Cliff Bridge on Lawrence Hargrave Drive.
The event could go over the Sydney Harbour Bridge (naturally) and finish with a few circuits of Sydney Olympic Park.
Alternate years the event would go the other way – Sydney to Melbourne, finishing with a few laps around Albert Park Lake (much quieter then the F1, so the residents would have nothing to complain about).
Alternate routes could take it over the Blue Mountains (hills really to the professional riders) and down through Wagga Wagga etc.
I’m sure that such an event would capture the imagination of Australians and the world alike.
But of course it could never happen!
To be successful the event would require the joint support and expertise of the major events units of Victoria and NSW and the respective state governments. These entities have a history of fiercely competing for events and the chances of them working together; sharing the responsibility (and the glory) has about as much chance as becoming Prime Minister of Australia.
But then again, maybe if Mr Budgie Smuggler got on board and announced funding for it in this election…..