Next year’s Tour de France will start in London; this will be the third time that the Tour has passed through England and the first time that the race has begun there.

“Hosting the first stage of the legendary French cycle race will raise the profile of cycling in the capital, attract visitors and promote the capital as a venue for international sporting events,” [Mayor Ken Livingstone] said.

Starting the Tour outside France is not new. Previously, the Tour’s “Grand Depart” has been launched from numerous cities and towns outside France, including Liege, Belgium, (2004), Luxembourg (2002, 1989), Dublin, Ireland, (1998), Hertogenbosch, Netherlands, (1996), and Berlin (1987).

I realise that the Tour de France tends to leave the country on an almost regular basis, and that now and again it even begins in other countries. It never ceases to make me feel uneasy, however. I have no idea why; it just does not seem quite right.