Cycling’s Tour of Britain about to return to Borders

Cycling’s Tour of Britain returns to the Borders this weekend after taking a year off due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Wednesday, 8th September 2021, 8:51 am
Jared and Jake Huggan and Lyle Beattie taking part in Hawick's festival of cycling ahead of the arrival there this weekend of the Tour of Britain (Pic: Bill McBurnie)

More than 100 riders are scheduled to set off from Hawick on Saturday for the penultimate stage of this year’s race, taking them through the region to Edinburgh.

Following that 121-mile journey, they’re then due to tackle the eighth and final stage of the tour, launched in Cornwall last Sunday, this coming Sunday, finishing in Aberdeen.

This will be the eighth time the tour has taken in the Borders, following previous visits in 2019, 2017, 2015, 2013, 2012, 2011 and 2009.

The race’s seventh stage will start in North Bridge Street in Hawick at 10.45am before heading for the Ettrick Valley via Roberton, climbing up to Berrybush and moving on to Innerleithen for a town centre sprint.

It then heads east to Heriot and along a stretch of the A7 Carlisle-Edinburgh road to Stow and two further sprints in Lauder and Duns before a climb up to Wanside Rig via Ellemford and Cranshaws.

Riders then cross the regional boundary into East Lothian before a sprint for the finish line in Edinburgh.

Among those taking part in the event, preceded by an ongoing festival of cycling in Hawick, are Mark Cavendish, winner of the most stages in modern Tour of Britain history; Tokyo 2020 medallists Wout van Aert, Ethan Hayter and Rohan Dennis; reigning UCI road world champion Julian Alaphilippe; and former Tour of Britain stage winners Michal Kwiatkowski, André Greipel, Alex Dowsett, Matthias Brändle and Tony Martin.

Mid Berwickshire councillor Mark Rowley, Scottish Borders Council’s executive member for economic regeneration and finance, has welcomed the tour’s return, saying: “I’d like to pay tribute to all those in the Hawick community that have absolutely embraced the opportunity of the Tour of Britain coming to the Borders and developed a fantastic range of events in the lead-up to the race itself.

“A fantastic and challenging route through some of the Borders’ finest scenery awaits the teams of riders on Saturday, and I hope that local people and visitors will enjoy the day and come out and safely support some of the world’s top cyclists as they race through our towns and villages.”