Tour de France organisers are set to spice up next year’s race by allowing riders a choice of medieval weaponry.
Defending champion Chris Froome has reportedly already selected a jousting lance, while his rivals Nairo Quintana and Adam Yates have chosen a spiked mace and a Mongolian horsebow respectively.
Pierre Velo of the Tour’s organising committee explained: “Our current audience is mostly hardcore cycling fans, and we want to expand our reach.
“Market research shows that the most popular clips of the race are those with crashes and serious injuries, so by allowing riders these tools of death we’re just delivering what the public want.”
A spokesman for Team Wingèd Vengeance (formerly Team Sky) said: “Riders know that it’s a dangerous sport, and they come into the Tour knowing they risk serious injury.
“That risk has increased somewhat, with the added element of a bloody wheel-to-wheel deathmatch, but our riders are determined to rise to the challenge and slaughter the opposition without mercy.”
Monsieur Velo said that the new rules were partly aimed at combating the scourge of drugs in cycling:
“At the moment, spectators are taking vast amounts of drugs just to try and make the race seem interesting.
“It’s 200 identical men riding identical bikes around for five hours every day for weeks on end. No-one can possibly watch that without being off their tétons.
“Arming the riders with lethal weaponry will bring back a sense of wholesome fun to the Tour, without the need for chemical enhancement.”
If the addition of weapons to the Tour are successful, Formula One is considering a similar rule change next season, aimed at bringing motorsport to the Mario Kart generation.