Cycle tour stage is superb showcase for town of Kelso

The peloton in action during the Kelso to Kelso stage of the OVO Energy Tour of Britain (picture by Alex Whitehead/
The peloton in action during the Kelso to Kelso stage of the OVO Energy Tour of Britain (picture by Alex Whitehead/

The Scottish Borders welcomed the OVO Energy Tour of Britain with bright sunshine and huge crowds on Sunday.

The Stage Two start in Kelso was very well attended, with large numbers of people watching some of the world’s top professional cyclists roll out of town at 11am ahead of a 166km route around the Scottish Borders.

With a variety of entertainment throughout the day, live coverage of the race on two large screens and many shops and food and drink businesses open too, the town centre was busy right through until the stage finish at 3pm.

Councillor Mark Rowley, Scottish Borders Council’s executive member for business and economic development, said: “We had the perfect day for the Scottish Borders hosting the Tour of Britain and it was fantastic to see so many people in Kelso, not just for the start and finish but throughout the day.

“I am sure many local businesses will have had one of their busiest days of the year.

“It was equally pleasing to see large numbers of people watching all along the route, and not just in towns and villages, and the global television coverage will certainly have shown off our beautiful region at its very best.

“The council’s commitment and investment to bringing major events to the area is a key part of our economic development strategy and the success of the event on Sunday will have had a significant positive impact, both on the day itself and also in its legacy – in this case highlighting what an amazing event arena Kelso town centre is and why we are Scotland’s leading cycling destination.”

Charity Live Borders and Visit Kelso put on a range of entertainment and activities during the day in the town centre.

The ‘Great British Bike Off’ saw Kelso Wheeler Callum Dickson take the title of fastest local after racing to 1000m on a static bike in just 55 seconds.

Tina Newton, chairman of Visit Kelso, said: “The town looked amazing on Sunday for the Tour of Britain and the atmosphere was electric.

“The sunshine really did help to show Kelso off at its best.

“And as for the finish, what can I say? It was nail biting! Cheering Alex Dowsett on to be the first British stage winner of this year’s race and then him being pipped at the post by Matteo Trentin really was spectacular.”