Finishing power will be at the top of the agenda this autumn as once again the Borders gears up to showcase one of the country’s top cycling events.
Floors Castle in Kelso will provide the backdrop to a stage finish of the 2015 Friends Life Tour of Britain, when some of the world’s top cyclists will be sprinting for glory after racing through an unprecedented number of Borders towns and villages.
This is the first time that the region has hosted a stage finish, although the area has featured in the race on several occasions. The Tour last visited the area in 2013, when Peebles hosted the race’s Grand Depart , and stages also started from Peebles in 2009 and 2011 and from Jedburgh in 2012.
En-route from Cockermouth on Tuesday, September 8, the riders will pass through Newcastleton, Hawick, Selkirk, Tweedbank, Melrose and St Boswells before reaching Kelso and a final sprint in the grounds of Floors Castle. The following day the race will pass through Duns and Coldstream as the riders go from Edinburgh to Blyth in Northumberland.
Councillor Stuart Bell, Scottish Borders Council’s executive member for economic development, said: “I am delighted that the Scottish Borders will host a stage finish of Friends Life Tour of Britain and that more visitors and local residents than ever before will be able to take in this fantastic event at close quarters with the following day’s stage also passing through the area.
“The return of such a prestigious event emphasises our ability to host high-profile events here in the Borders and is further recognition of the fact that the Scottish Borders is Scotland’s leading cycling destination.”
Once again, ITV will screen three-hours of live coverage of every stage, starting on their main channel for the opening Welsh stage before reverting to ITV4 for Stages Two to Eight, plus one-hour of highlights each evening.
Councillor Bell added: “With international television and press coverage, and the ability to draw crowds of spectators from far and wide, the return of the Tour of Britain to the Borders will once again put the area in the limelight and is a great opportunity to promote it as a cycling destination, both on and off-road.”
Further details of both stages will be announced in the summer, along with details of the 20 competing teams.
The 2015 Friends Life Tour of Britain will start in Wales on Sunday, September 6, finishing eight days later in London.