On Saturday 7th September, the OVO Energy Tour of Britain 2019 returns to Scotland for the opening two stages of the 1,267-kilometre (787-mile) race.
Among the top names already confirmed for the race are Mark Cavendish, Britain’s most successful rider of all time, 2019 Tour de France stage winners Dylan Groenewegen, Matteo Trentin and Mike Teunissen, while British road race and time trial champions Ben Swift and Alex Dowsett will also compete.
With just under a week to go until the start of Britain’s national cycling tour, we’ve compiled a list of the best vantage points to catch all the action.
Stage 1 – Glasgow to Kirkbudbright
The opening stage on Saturday 7th September will see the world’s top riders tackle a 201-kilometre (125-mile) opening leg from George Square in Glasgow city centre to the town of Kirkcudbright in south west Dumfries & Galloway.
Setting off at 10.30am, the riders will complete a loop of Glasgow city centre, taking in famous landmarks including the climb of Montrose Street, the Gallery of Modern Art and the People’s Palace on Glasgow Green before heading south through Renfrewshire, East Ayrshire and South Ayrshire before crossing into Dumfries & Galloway.
On route, riders will also be able to battle it out for points for the Eisberg sprints and SKODA King of the Mountains (KoM) jerseys, with three opportunities to gain the all-important points. The first intermediate Eisberg sprint comes approximately an hour into the race (11.45am) in Kilmarnock. Riders will hit the first SKODA KoM at approximately 1.15pm as they take on Lambdoughty Hill in South Ayrshire.
Shortly after descending Lambdoughty Hill, riders will face the second Eisberg sprint (approx. 1.30pm) and SKODA KoM (approx. 1.35pm) in the market town of Dalmellington.
The riders will then cross over into Dumfries & Galloway for the third and final Eisberg sprint in the village of Carsphairn (approx. 1.45pm) before taking on the final SKODA KoM of the day at Bankhead (approx. 3.15pm). They will then race their way to the finish line on St Mary’s Street in Kirkcudbright town centre at around 3.30pm.
This will be the fourth time that Glasgow has hosted the opening stage, while September 2019 is the tenth occasion that Dumfries & Galloway has welcomed Britain’s biggest professional cycle race, it will be the first time that the event has visited Kirkcudbright.
Councillor David McDonald, Depute Leader of Glasgow City Council and Chair of Glasgow Life, said: “George Square last hosted the Grand Depart in 2016, and thousands of spectators and fans lined the city streets to see elite riders and teams in action as they set off on the first stage of the competition.
“Glasgow is known for providing the warmest welcome in the country and the Grand Depart will be no different – riders are sure to get a fantastic send off and I can’t think of a better place to begin such an iconic race than the heart of our sporting city.
“This event gives cycling fans an unparalleled opportunity to see world-class team and riders take to the city’s streets – and with so many brilliant vantage points in the city, I’m sure we’ll see a record turnout this weekend.”
Cllr Adam Wilson, Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Events Champion said: We’re really excited to be hosting the stage one finish in our region. The community of Kirkcudbright have been very supportive towards the entire event. The first stage will see cyclists and spectators take in some of our amazing Dumfries and Galloway scenery particularly at Carsphairn which is sure to see the cyclists at their quickest, and the hilly Bankend section will give the riders a real stamina test. Our Council is proud to work alongside The Tour and we hope that cyclists, event organisers and spectators enjoy their day in our region.”
For full details of Stage One, including timings, an interactive stage map and a downloadable stage map and profile please click here.
Stage two – The Scottish Borders
Stage Two will start and finish in the centre of Kelso on Sunday 8th September. Starting at 11am, riders will tackle an anti-clockwise 165.9km (103-miles) loop via Coldstream, Chirnside and Duns before heading, via the Scott’s View climb, to Melrose and on to the Eildon Hills. Kelso hosted the finish of stage one in 2017, when Australian Caleb Ewan took victory in a thrilling sprint.
Points will again be on offer over three Eisberg sprints and SKODA KoMs, with the first sprint taking place in Coldstream at approximately 11.30am. Riders will then contest the first SKODA KoM of the day at Hardens Hill (approximately 12.50pm) followed shortly after by the second Eisberg sprint in Duns (approx. 1pm) outside the new Jim Clark Motorsport Museum.
Riders will then head to the next SKODA KoM over the beautiful Scott’s View (approx. 2.20pm) before descending for the final Eisberg sprint of the day in Melrose (2.30pm) and SKODA KoM at Dingleton (approx. 2.40pm). Riders will then finish back in Kelso town square at approximately 3pm.
Councillor Mark Rowley, Scottish Borders Council’s Executive Member for Business and Economic Development said: “At over 160km long, Stage Two of this year’s race will pass many fantastic visitor attractions and I’d encourage spectators, wherever they are from, to make the most of the day.
“In Kelso, between the race start at 11am and finish at around 3pm, there will be the Tour Village to explore, live race coverage on big screens and activities and entertainment for all ages in the town centre. We’ve also had a very positive response from business who plan to be open on the day, so there will be lots to see and do throughout the day.”
For full details of Stage Two, 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 action packed weekend of world-class cycling action as Scotland hosts the opening two stages of this year’s OVO Energy Tour of Britain. Set against the backdrop of some of Scotland’s most iconic and spectacular locations and countryside, there are plenty of great places to get out and catch this year’s race.
“With more than 2000 miles of National Cycling Network covering the country, the Tour is the perfect stage to encourage people to come and explore what Scotland has to offer.”
OVO Energy Tour of Britain Race Director Mick Bennett said: “With only a few days left to go until the OVO Energy Tour of Britain gets underway, excitement is building and now is the time to plan where you will watch the race this weekend. For the first time we have two full stages in Scotland, and are looking forward to Scottish fans giving the race their full support to see us off in style."
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 doorstep and helping to build a great cycling nation.
ITV4 will once again screen live free-to-air coverage flag-to-flag of each stage in the UK, along with a nightly highlights programme of the best of the action.