On Sunday 3 September, the streets of Scotland will be abuzz as 20 of the world’s top professional cycling teams take to the roads for the opening stage of the 2017 OVO Energy Tour of Britain, from Edinburgh to Kelso.
Among the top names already confirmed for the race are Team Sky duo Geraint Thomas and Michal Kwiatkowski, recently crowned European Champion Alexander Kristoff from Norway, World Time Trial Champion Tony Martin and multiple British Champion Alex Dowsett.
With just one week to go until the start of the 188-kilometre stage of Britain’s national Tour, we’ve compiled a list of the best vantage points to catch the world’s top riders in action in Scotland.
Stage One starts from outside St Giles Cathedral on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile at 10:30, with spectators advised to arrive for 9:00 as teams begin to arrive and sign-on, with each of the 20 world-class teams being presented to the crowd on the podium.
In addition to promo stands from Tour partners OVO Energy, Oakley and Dare2b all of the team vehicles will be parked on High Street and Cockburn Street ahead of the Grand Depart.
With Stage One using the same loop of roads in the city as the HSBC UK City Ride afterwards, the Meadows will be another great location to watch and see the action twice, especially if you’re riding in the freeride event afterwards.
A further spectacular location, sure to feature prominently in the live television coverage on ITV4 is Duddington Low Road through Holyrood Park, with the famous backdrop of Arthur’s Seat.
The East Lothian towns and villages of Musselburgh, Cockenzie and Port Seton, Longniddry, Haddington and Pencaitland all lie on the opening kilometres of the route, while Gifford hosts the first intermediate Eisberg Sprint of the 2017 race at around 11:50, sponsored by leading alcohol free wine brand Eisberg, where riders will battle for points towards the Eisberg Sprints Jersey.
Shortly after riders tackle the first SKODA King of the Mountains climb of the race at Redstone Rigg in the Lammermuir Hills, with the race expected to reach the summit at around midday.
Fans in the Scottish Borders are spoilt for choice on where to watch, with the Tour racing through Duns (approximately 12:30) and Coldstream, where there will be another Eisberg Sprint (approximately 13:00) before passing through the centre of Kelso twice, at around 13:30 and again for the finish at approximately 15:20.
As well as a big screen showing the whole race live, Kelso will host the official promo zone with stands from Tour partners and a static bike challenge.
With the race taking in a 79-kilometre loop of the Scottish Borders, there is also the chance for fans to watch at one of the SKODA King of the Mountains climbs in the beautiful locations of Scott’s View (approximately 14:30) or above Melrose near the Eildon Hills (approximately 14:45). The latter comes just after the final Eisberg Sprint in Melrose High Street.
For full details of Stage One, including timings, an interactive stage map and a downloadable stage map and profile please click here.
Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland's Director of Events, said: "Spectators are in for an amazing opening stage to this year's OVO Energy Tour of Britain as they are treated to world-class racing set against the backdrop of some of Scotland's most iconic and spectacular locations and countryside.
"EventScotland is proud to be a long-term partner of the Tour of Britain and help bring the race back to Scotland each year to showcase what's on offer to an international audience of cycling enthusiast. With more than 2000 miles of the National Cycle Network covering the country, Scotland truly is the perfect stage for cycling events."
Commenting on the route, OVO Energy Tour of Britain Race Director Mick Bennett said; “From the world famous city centre of Edinburgh, via the coast and moors of East Lothian to the beautiful views and towns of the Scottish Borders, Stage One has a bit of everything.
“With our partners we have planned a very spectator friendly route and look forward to cycling fans from across Scotland and the North of England turning out to cheer on and support the amazing field of riders we will have.”
The HSBC UK City Ride takes place in Edinburgh on Sunday 3 September between 11:00 and 15:00 on a traffic free, 4.5-kilometre circuit at the heart of Edinburgh, based around the Meadows. For more information and to register for your free place, please click here.
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. Find out more here.