PROFESSIONAL cyclists, local school children and a stunt team will all be pedalling in Peebles as part of the Tour of Britain Grand Depart this weekend.
And topping the bill will be multiple Tour de France stage winner Mark Cavendish, who will lead his HTC Highroad team when they begin their Tour challenge in the Borders on Sunday.
Cavendish has been confirmed as a member of the HTC Highroad line-up, which also includes fellow members of his sprint team Bernhard Eisel and Mark Renshaw.
“As a team we have worked hard over the past fortnight to ensure that Mark Cavendish rides the Tour of Britain,” said race director Mick Bennett.
“We are very pleased that Mark has been given permission by the organisers of the Vuelta a Espana to start trhe race, and will be able to race in front of home crowds for potentially the last time before the 2012 London Olympics.
“Mark’s addition to the start list will ensure that the sprints are hotly contested. I am sure the spectacle of Mark, Thor Hushovd, Ben Swift and others going head-to-head at stage finishes will draw huge crowds to the roadside once more.”
Cavendish, who has won 20 stages of the Tour de France, last rode the Tour of Britain in 2007, when he won the opening two stages of the race.
The Borders is hosting a number of cycling events in advance of the main event on Sunday. The Scottish Borders Exhibition Criterium which will be held in Peebles on Saturday.
The race, jointly organised by Renner Sport and Scottish Borders Council (SBC), will involve 45 minutes of circuit riding plus five laps around the High Street and Tweedgreen course.
One of the most popular riders competing is Graham Briggs, who recently sprinted to victory to take the Elite Men’s National Circuit Championships in Beverley and will once again be looking to put his fast finish to good use in the exhibition race.
Joining him on the startline will be James McCallum, pro-rider with Rapha Condor Sharp.
Councillor Vicky Davidson, executive member for economic development, said: “The Borders, and Peebles, will be the place to be this weekend.
“The presence of the Tour of Britain has allowed us to develop a number of wider activities around the main event. Officials have been working continuously with the event organisers, Peebles Cycling Club and the Tour of Britain team to make this happen and it provides a stunning start to the weekend of cycling.”
Scottish Borders Recreational Cycling Group, in conjunction with SBC, has organised a fun cycling day for primary 7 pupils from Peebles in Whitestone Park tomorrow.
Additionally, the world-famous Scottish cycling stunt team ‘The Clan’ will be putting on a couple of their jaw-dropping shows which are open to the public at 11am and then again at 3pm.
For more information visit: www.tourofbritain.co.uk