ORGANISERS of the Tour of Britain have paid tribute to the Tweeddale town which will launch the event on September 11, writes Kenny Paterson.
Peebles will see around 100 top UK and international cyclists begin their week-long race with a 105-mile first stage to Dumfries.
Hugh Roberts, chief executive of organisers SweetSpot Group, said: “It is fitting that the Grand Depart of the 2011 Tour will be in Peebles, a town with a rich cycling culture and one that has welcomed the Tour of Britain before.
“We are also looking forward to bringing a stage finish of the tour to Dumfries for the first time, and, of course, the Tour Ride to Scotland for the first time.”
The first of three intermediate Yodel Sprints on the road to Dumfries will be held at Innerleithen and riders will battle it out for the right to wear the Yodel Sprints Jersey.
The highly-popular King of the Mountains competition also returns, with category three climbs at Fan’s Law, Devil’s Beef Tub and Auchenhay Hill, giving the climbers the chance to entertain spectators.
And a week before the Grand Depart, on September 4, a Prostate Cancer Charity Tour Ride Scotland will give more than 1,000 amateur cyclists the chance to try the Peebles to Dumfries route and raise money for the event’s title charity.
EventScotland’s chief operating officer, Paul Bush, said: “In the year of Active Scotland, the Tour Ride gives everyone the opportunity to experience the challenges that the professionals will face on some of Scotland’s most scenic roads.”
Scottish Borders councillor Vicky Davidson, executive member for economic development, said the local authority would meet with businesses to ensure Peebles benefits from hosting the Grand Depart.
“We are delighted to welcome thousands of participants for the Tour Ride the preceding Sunday, along with the professionals,” added Ms Davidson. “Even more visitors will see for themselves that the area is genuinely a spectacular destination for cycling.”
To find out more about both rides, go to www.tourride.co.uk