Stage one of the OVO Energy Tour of Britain finished with a thrilling sprint in Kelso town centre last Sudnay, watched by thousands of spectators.
The stage, which started in Edinburgh, took in Duns, Coldstream, Scott’s View and Melrose, as well as Kelso on two occasions – for the first passage of the finish line at a start of a 79km loop of the central Borders and then the stage finish itself. The stage was won by Australian Caleb Ewan.
In addition to the crowds in Kelso town centre, who not only enjoyed the race pass twice but also the promotional village and live coverage on two big screens, thousands more came out along the route to watch some of the world’s top cyclists race by.
Councillor Mark Rowley, Scottish Borders Council’s executive member for business and economic development, said: “Hosting events of national and international significance, such as the Tour of Britain, is a key part of the Council’s events and cycle tourism strategies, and it was fantastic to see so many people in Kelso and along the route on Sunday. The town put on a great reception for the race, with some fantastic window displays and many businesses opened especially to cater for the many spectators. The support of Visit Kelso in this respect is greatly appreciated and shows the benefits of having such an enthusiastic local business group. Combined with the Tour O’ The Borders closed road sportive, which attracted almost 2000 amateur riders, Sunday really showed why the Scottish Borders is Scotland’s leading cycling destination.”
The Kelso Wheelers Cycling Club also arranged a range of on and off-road events over the weekend – club members enjoyed a ride across the finish line after the professionals had passed through for the first time.