Thousands of cycling fans gathered in Castle Douglas yesterday afternoon to cheer home Andre Greipel as the Stage 1 winner of the 2016 Tour of Britain, British Cycling’s premier road race.
The German clocked a time of three hours and 52 minutes to pip Caleb Ewan of Australia at the post, with The Netherlands’ Ramon Sinkeldam a short way behind in third.
A little under four hours earlier, 126 riders, including the superstars of Rio 2016, Sir Bradley Wiggins, Owain Doull and Mark Cavendish, had pushed-off from a bustling George Square in Glasgow for this year’s Grand Depart.
In total, 21 teams - consisting of Olympic and World Champions, as well as Tour de France stage winners - covered the 100 miles of rolling countryside from Glasgow to Dumfries & Galloway, passing through East Ayrshire on their way south.
All along the route, they were greeted by thousands of vocal supporters who’d come out to enjoy world-class road cycling action in glorious sunshine, as well as a number of community activities arranged by each local authority in celebration of the tour’s return to Scotland.
Now in its 13th year, the 2016 Tour of Britain will take in eight stages across the length and breadth of Britain, covering over 1,000 miles, before concluding on Sunday 11 September.
Upon taking the Yellow Jersey presented by Eisberg as the outright leader after Stage 1, Greipel said: “It’s always nice to start off with a victory. We’re setting goals to win a stage and we’ve reached that on the first day. We can be happy.”
The first stage of the 2016 Tour of Britain is supported by Dumfries & Galloway Council, EventScotland and Glasgow City Council.
Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland’s Director of Events, said: “Attracting some of the biggest names in world sport, we were delighted to welcome the Tour of Britain back to Scotland in 2016, and what a way to begin this year’s race.
“Over the 100 miles of scenic road racing, each of the riders, spectators and those watching on at home witnessed what makes Scotland the perfect stage for cycling events, and we hope many will be encouraged by what they have seen to take to our roads themselves in the near future.”