A lightning three-day visit by Tour de France race director Christian Prudhomme to South Australia this week has further guaranteed the future of the Tour Down Under.
7 Apr 2015 - 11:32 PM  UPDATED 13 Apr 2015 - 3:37 PM

Monsieur Prudhomme arrived at midday
Wednesday and was immediately ushered from Adelaide International
Airport directly to the stage two finish in Stirling where he was
impressed with what he saw.

The excitement of the huge crowds
that gathered under the South Australian summer sunshine, the
infrastructure by the organisation and the quality of racing on the
roads caught the TdF's highest honcho by surprise.

"This is
bigger than many races in Europe and there are cartainly more people
here than stage finishes at the Tour of California," Prudhomme said.

It was a glowing endorsment for Australia's only UCI World Tour event.

The main reason for Prudhomme's visit is to tap in on the TDU's television distribution to international markets.

In the not too distant future, the plan is to take the race to every corner of the globe through a variety of TV deals.

Ans at this time of year when the nothern hemisphere is in winter
hibernation, there's nothing better for cycling-starved fans on the
other side of the world than to sit in front of a fire on a couch and
take in some quality competition.

This is a step in the right direction and virtually guarantees the growth of the Santos Tour Down Under.

The relationship SBS has enjoyed with Tour de France owners ASO has
been rock-solid for 22 years, and although the network does not have the
TV rights for the TDU in 2012, Prudhomme has always expessed his
adoration for the network's coverage with international cycling.

Although the TdF is a major sporting event, Prudhomme appreciates how SBS complements the coverage as a "cultural experience".

It's no secret SBS has the Tour de France TV and online rights in
Australia until 2017, and given the warm reunion between both parties at
an exlcusive Adelaide restaurant last night, I'd be surprised if the
"marriage made in TV heaven" didn't continue thereafter.

Twitter: @miketomalaris