Scotland is set to host Stage One of the Tour of Britain for the fifth time when British Cycling’s premier road cycling event pushes off from Glasgow city centre on Sunday 4 September, with an opening stage to Castle Douglas.
Having last welcomed the Tour of Britain in 2008, Glasgow will host the Grand Depart of the opening stage, building on the success of hosting the Commonwealth Games and British National Road Race Championships in recent years.
It will be the eighth time that Dumfries and Galloway has hosted a stage finish of Britain’s biggest professional cycle race, and the third time that Castle Douglas has welcomed a finish of the race. Outside of London no other region has hosted as many stage finishes since the Tour of Britain was revived in 2004.
Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland’s Director of Events, said:
“We are delighted that the first stage of the Tour of Britain will take place in Scotland for the fifth time and we are sure that cycling enthusiasts from all of the country will be keen to turn out in support of all competitors.
“Scotland is the perfect stage for cycling events and Glasgow city centre will provide a fantastic setting for the riders as they push off on the first of eight days of competition, before encountering the scenic and challenging countryside of Dumfries and Galloway”
Depute Leader of Glasgow City Council and Chair of Glasgow Life, Councillor Archie Graham OBE, said:
“Cycling has been at the heart of Glasgow’s rise as one of the world’s top sporting cities in recent years and we are looking forward to welcoming some of the world’s top cyclists back to the city for the Tour of Britain Grand Depart.
“The people of Glasgow turned out in their thousands to cheer them on at the 2013 British National Road Race Championships and Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games Road Race events and it will be no different this September.”
Councillor Colin Smyth, Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Events Champion, said:
“Castle Douglas always has been serious about cycling. The town boasts three cycling shops and is proud of its history of twice previously hosting the Tour of Britain. What a great hat trick to bring this superb event back to this scenic market town for a third time!! Castle Douglas is close to beautiful mountain bike trails at Dalbeattie, Mabie and Kirroughtree forests so we believe we are a great location for Stage One of the Tour.”
Craig Burn, Chief Executive of Scottish Cycling says:
“Events such as the Tour of Britain inspire those who do not cycle to start, or those who do cycle to push themselves further. The 2013 British National Road Race Championships and the 2014 Commonwealth Games, as well as the launch of the 2018 European Sports Championships have also proven Scotland’s capability and popularity for hosting international cycling events. Scottish Cycling is incredibly excited that Scotland will be hosting the opening stage of the Tour of Britain this year, and look forward to seeing some more elite racing on our doorstep.”
In both 2005 and 2006 the opening stage of the Tour of Britain ran from Glasgow to Castle Douglas, with Nick Nuyens and Martin Pedersen the respective winners, of both the Scottish stage and the overall race in those editions. With the town already eagerly anticipating the arrival of the race, local organisers are confident that around 10,000 spectators will turn out to watch riders crossing the finishing line.
Commenting on the Scottish Stage, Tour of Britain Race Director Mick Bennett said;
“We are very pleased to be returning to Glasgow with the Tour of Britain after a long absence and are looking forward to working with our partners at Glasgow Life, Dumfries and Galloway Council, Scottish Cycling and EventScotland to put on a memorable start to the 2016 race.
“The stage will take in some new roads in Ayrshire for the Tour of Britain, as used in the past by the Girvan Cycle Race, before a very scenic run in to the finish in Castle Douglas, which will look fantastic on the television coverage.”
The Tour of Britain will finish in the heart of London on Sunday 11 September. Following on from the Scottish opening stage the race will re-start in Carlisle on Monday 5 September for a stage through Cumbria and the Lake District to Kendal.
Subsequent stages will take the race to Cheshire, Wales and the South West of England, including a summit finish at Haytor on Dartmoor and a challenging circuit race in Bristol on the penultimate day.
For the fifth successive year fans can look forward to enjoying daily live coverage of all eight stages on ITV4, with the channel broadcasting a three-hour live programme from each stage, plus one-hour of highlights every evening during the race.
Chain Reaction Cycles continue their partnership with the race and sponsorship of the Chain Reaction Cycles Points Classification, won in 2015 by Team WIGGIN’s Owain Doull, while UK parcel carrier Yodel will continue to sponsor the daily intermediate YodelDirect Sprints classification, which Peter Williams of ONE Pro Cycling won last September.
ŠKODA remain official car suppliers and sponsors of the King of the Mountains jersey, also won by Williams in 2015.
The Tour of Britain is British Cycling’s premier road cycling event giving cycling fans the opportunity to see the world’s best teams and riders competing on their door step.