Mike Tomalaris leaves SBS TV after more than 30 years
“I am leaving SBS with my head held high,” he said. “With the success of various CEOs, we have transformed a product that attracted virtually no viewers in 1991 into a product that generates hundreds of thousands of dollars – maybe up to a million dollars – for advertising and SBS revenue.
“I am proud to have allowed people to enjoy professional cycling and the pleasures that France has to offer outside of cycling. And made it possible for people to cycle, whether at a competitive or recreational level.
“People of all ages and sizes are doing it because of how SBS has changed culture through its promotion of cycling. “
Tomalaris said he hopes to stay in both cycling and broadcasting.
Longtime cycling journalist and friend Rupert Guinness said he was shocked by Tomalaris’ abrupt exit and believes fans will miss him on the Tour next year.
“Whatever the circumstances, you cannot underestimate his contribution not only to the spread of Australian cycling, but to Australian cycling,” he said. “When he entered the sport a lot of Australians knew nothing about cycling and there are thousands who now know it thanks to the energy and enthusiasm that Tommo put into his work as a broadcaster.
“I’m sad he left SBS like this after over 30 years, but obviously I wish him well.”
Former Australian cycling champion Phil Anderson, who wore the famous yellow jersey as Tour leader in 1981 and 1982, was surprised to learn that Tomalaris had left SBS.
“It’s quite disappointing because he played such a vital role in bringing cycling to Australian viewers,” he said. “Without him and his enthusiasm, it wouldn’t be the same.
“It’s a bit of a shock and I think cycling will struggle without what it has brought to the sport and the way it looks.”
Asked how SBS would replace Tomalaris in its Tour coverage, a spokesperson said, “We will share our plans for next year’s coverage ahead of the event, as we do every year.”