Further details of the opening stage of the OVO Energy Tour of Britain have been revealed today (Tuesday 20 June) to mark 75-days until the start of Britain’s biggest professional cycle race, including the locations of the three SKODA King of the Mountains climbs that riders will tackle on their way from Edinburgh to Kelso on Sunday 3 September.
The 188-kilometre stage of Britain’s national Tour will head from the heart of Edinburgh, starting on the Royal Mile outside St Giles Cathedral, to finish in Kelso’s Market Square in the Scottish Borders.
Spectators at the finish in Kelso will also have the chance to see the race twice, as the route takes in Kelso and passes through the finish line before taking on a 79-kilometre loop of the Scottish Borders
Along the way, riders will contest three intermediate Eisberg Sprints, sponsored by leading alcohol free wine brand Eisberg, at Gifford, Coldstream and Melrose.
“We are delighted to be starting this year’s OVO Energy Tour of Britain from the very heart of Edinburgh, in what will be a first for the Tour,” said Race Director Mick Bennett.
“The city’s Royal Mile is a world famous location, while we have the beautiful coastline and countryside of East Lothian on route and the fantastic Scottish Borders towns and climbs on our finishing circuit, which added together will make for a varied and beautiful opening stage.”
Stage One will tackle three SKODA King of the Mountains climbs, the first at Redstone Rig in East Lothian, an 8-kilometre climb last used in the 2015 Tour of Britain.
Two further categorised climbs will come at Scott’s View and the Eildon Hills in the Scottish Borders, both of which are located on the loop that riders will tackle having passed through Kelso.
Paul Bush OBE, Director of Events, said: “Scotland is the perfect stage for the grand depart of this year’s Tour of Britain. The iconic Royal Mile, East Lothian’s beautiful coastline and the rolling hills of the Scottish Borders will provide a spectacular backdrop for both spectators and riders alike on the opening stage.
“EventScotland is proud to be a long-term partner of the Tour of Britain. Cycling events like the Tour of Britain play a key role in Scotland’s visitor economy and with more than 2,000 miles of the National Cycle Network covering the country, it is the ideal chance to encourage people to get out and discover Scotland on two wheels.”
September will mark the first time that the OVO Energy Tour of Britain has begun overall in Edinburgh, with the race last visiting the city for the Start of Stage Four in 2015.
Edinburgh's Lord Provost and Veterans Champion, Frank Ross, said: “Thousands of fans are sure to be drawn to Edinburgh for the spectacular sight of the Tour of Britain Grand Depart. Cycling’s finest will set off from the Royal Mile before winding through our Old Town and towards East Lothian. We’re delighted to be hosting the first leg of the competition in Edinburgh for the very first time.”
Kelso last hosted a stage finish of the race in 2015, when Stage Three finished in the grounds of Floors Castle on the edge of the town in a stage won by Team Sky’s Elia Viviani. This year will be the fifth time that the Scottish Borders have hosted a stage of Britain’s premier road cycling event.
Councillor Mark Rowley, Scottish Borders Council’s Executive Member for Business and Economic Development, said: “It is very appropriate that some of the Scottish Borders’ historic sites including Duns, Hume and Floors Castles, Smailholm Tower, Mellerstain House and the abbeys of Melrose and Kelso are all so close to the Tour of Britain route in 2017 in Scotland’s Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology.
“Taking in Scott’s View, this route will be a treat for television viewers, and will really show off some of the Borders’ most impressive sights and landscapes, including the Eildons and Lammermuir Hills. We hope it will encourage even more people to visit Scotland’s leading cycling destination.
“We are especially pleased to have the added bonus of the race both passing through and finishing in Kelso, which will give spectators a great opportunity to see it twice in the same day.
Councillor John McMillan, East Lothian Council’s Cabinet spokesperson for Economic Development and Tourism, said: “We are absolutely delighted that the Tour of Britain is returning to East Lothian. This is a fantastic opportunity for cycling fans and local people to see some of the world’s best cyclists, right on our doorstep, and I am sure that people will turn out to cheer them on. They will be cycling along part of East Lothian’s beautiful coastline and through our wonderful countryside, and I hope it inspires cycling enthusiasts and visitors to explore the county for themselves.”
OVO Energy, the UK’s top rated independent energy supplier was announced as the title sponsor of the Tour of Britain at the end of April.
The OVO Energy 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, taking place between Sunday 3 and Sunday 10 September 2017.
Click here for more detail on the Scottish Stage of the 2017 OVO Energy Tour of Britain.