The Borders has an opportunity to shine on Sunday, when the area hosts the ‘Grand Depart’ of the Tour of Britain cycle race.
The event, which will be covered live and with highlights on ITV4 and Eurosport, will see some of the world’s top professional cyclists race through the streets of various Border towns.
Peebles has the prestigious honour of playing host to the start itself, before the cyclists head on to Innerleithen, Selkirk, Hawick and Newcastleton, before crossing into Dumfries and Galloway for the finish at Drumlanrig Castle.
In 2009, Peebles hosted the start of a Tour of Britain stage, and in 2011 also held the opening stage.
Last year, the start of stage three was held in Jedburgh.
Leading Team Sky in this year’s Tour of Britain is Sir Bradley Wiggins, the 2012 Tour de France winner and Olympic gold medallist.
“We are very pleased to welcome Sir Bradley Wiggins back to The Tour of Britain alongside what looks to be a very strong Sky line-up,” said race director Mick Bennett.
2011 Tour de France Green Jersey winner Mark Cavendish will also be in the starting line-up when competing for the Omega Pharma Quick-Step outfit. The race has grown in stature over the past 10 years, and this year five World Tour Pro teams and five other international professional teams are set to take part.
Paul Bush, chief operating officer for EventScotland, said: “Scotland is the perfect stage for events and the Tour of Britain truly showcases our stunning landscapes, which is even more fitting in 2013, the year of natural Scotland.
“From the mass participation Tour Ride to the opening stage from Peebles to Drumlanrig Castle, the grand depart weekend in Scotland will be a great celebration of all things cycling.”
“Peebles embraced the Tour of Britain on our last visit there for the grand depart in 2011, so we are delighted to be returning, and know that Scotland will be the perfect stage for our 10th Grand Depart,” said Hugh Roberts, chief executive of SweetSpot Group, the organisers and promoters of the Tour of Britain.
He added: “Stage one will be a tough, but scenic opening to this year’s tour and we hope that cycling fans from all over Britain will join us to make the Grand Depart truly memorable.”
Various events will take place around the weekend of the start, including the Tour of Britain Big Breakfast, a beer, wine and whisky tasting in candlelight at Neidpath Castle and a Feast in the Forest at Kailzie Gardens.
Because it is a closed road event, various rolling road closures will be in place and parking restrictions will also be implemented.
The cyclists will roll out of Peebles before racing proper starts at Glentress at around 10.30am.
The riders are expected through Innerleithen from 10.39am, Walkerburn from 10.43am and Selkirk at about 11.10am.
It is anticipated that they will reach Hawick at around 11.37am, before passing through Newcastleton at between 12.25pm and 12.51pm.
The riders’ first Skoda King of the Mountains climb will be out of Selkirk, and sprint points will be on offer in Hawick and Newcastleton.