Lap of honour for Australian and New Zealanders Diggers at Tour de France 2015

Published on January 23, 2015
  • © Baie attitude

    © Baie attitude

  • © ADRT80-DR

    © ADRT80-DR

Lap of honour for Australian and New Zealanders Diggers at Tour de France 2015 fr

Australian viewers of a recent SBS television interview were intrigued to hear Tour de France director, Christian Prudhomme, allude to an ‘Australian link’ being included in the iconic race in 2015. 

Details around this gesture have now been revealed, with the Australia–New Zealand office of Atout France today confirming that Prudhomme has dedicated Stage 5 of the race to Australian soldiers who fought in northern France during World War One.   

The news, which follows last week’s official release of the 2015 route, is expected to quell widespread speculation among Australians and New Zelanders. In the original September 22 interview, Prudhomme only hinted at the plan. “Last summer, there was a strong link between World War One and the Tour. This year there will be the same, but especially about the Australians,” he told journalist Mike Tomalaris.

Atout France is pleased to reveal that Stage 5 of the 2015 race will take on 8th July 2015 in the haunting battlefields of Péronne, Longueval, Pozières, Thiepval, Albert and Villers-Bretonneux, where approximately 50,000 Australians Diggers and 17 000 New Zealanders were killed in some of the bloodiest battles ever witnessed by the young nation.

The 201-kilometre route, from Arras to Amiens, will also be the scene of fierce rivalry as the race’s specialist sprint teams vie for fastest time across the largely flat terrain. 

“Tour de France is the world's greatest cycling race, and France is Australia and New Zealand's favourite overseas destination. For France, Australia and New Zealand, the Somme leg of the 2015 Tour will set a bond that goes far deeper than tourism and sport,” said Atout France Australia–New Zealand’s director, Patrick Benhamou. 

“It will honour the Australian and New Zealand sacrifices of 100 years ago, sacrifices that we French will never forget." 

France is unfolding a major campaign of commemorative events over the next four years, in memorial of the millions of soldiers and civilians killed, wounded or left missing after the fierce battles of World War One.

The Sydney office of Atout France, the French Tourism Development Agency, has taken on a prominent role in raising awareness around the Great War’s centenary, especially Australia’s role in helping western Europe win freedom, by producing a series of special-edition publications, tours and events. 

Atout France also has a longstanding relationship with Tour de France’s management, having welcomed Mr Prudhomme Australia twice before. 

For more information on travelling to Tour de France and visiting World War One 100th anniversary commemorations in France, visit the Atout France website: www.rendezvousenfrance.com