Tour of Britain coming back to Borders for eighth time in 13 years

The UK’s biggest cycling race of its kind, the Tour of Britain, is returning to the Borders in the autumn for the eighth time in 13 years.

Wednesday, 17th March 2021, 7:04 pm
Cyclists arriving in Kelso in 2017 (Photo: Anderson Drummond Photography)

The region last hosted the tour in 2019, with a full stage taking place here, starting and finishing in Kelso town centre and also taking in Melrose and Westruther, and businesses and cycling fans alike will be delighted to see it back after a year off due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Prior to that, it stopped off in the Borders in 2017, with a stage ending in Kelso after going through Melrose, Smailholm and Gordon; 2015, again with a stage concluding in Kelso, after visiting Bonchester Bridge, Hawick and Selkirk; 2013, with a stage setting off from Peebles; 2012, with a stage departing from Jedburgh; and 2011 and 2009, both with stages starting in Peebles.

Mid Berwickshire councillor Mark Rowley, Scottish Borders Council’s executive member for economic regeneration and finance, said: “The Borders is Scotland’s leading cycling destination, with some of the world’s finest mountain biking tracks and a network of fantastic on-road cycling routes.

“I am therefore delighted that we’ve been able to work with the Tour of Britain team to bring the race back to the region again to showcase just what we have to offer.

“This will be our eighth time hosting a Tour of Britain start or finish in the past 12 years, and we know from previous experience not only what an incredible event it is but also the positive economic impact it has on both the host town and wider area.

“As we look towards the region’s recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, it is essential that we continue to do all we can to attract visitors to the area, and the council’s commitment and investment towards bringing the highest quality events to the Borders and supporting local events is unwavering.

“We will be working closely with the Tour of Britain’s organisers and other partners over the coming months to prepare for the event, of course ensuring all measures are in place to keep spectators safe.”

Stage seven of the 2021 Tour of Britain will start in Hawick on Saturday, September 11, and finish in Edinburgh, with details of the full route to be taken set to be announced in the summer.

ITV4 will once again screen live coverage of every stage of the race, plus highlights each evening, with many other broadcasters around the world also covering it.

Relaunched in 2004 after a five-year absence from the sporting calendar, the Tour of Britain, dating back to 1945 but only run in its current form since 2004, is billed as British cycling’s premier road race, and it’s now held annually over eight days in September.

The free-to-watch race features a line-up including Olympic, world and Tour de France champions and attracts a roadside audience of more than 1.5m spectators.

The Tour of Britain is now part of the UCI ProSeries, making it one of the most prestigious events in the sport’s global calendar.

It’s scheduled to start off in Cornwall this time round and wind up in Aberdeen.

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A spokesperson for the tour’s organisers, SweetSpot, said: “This year’s race route is ground-breaking in many ways.

“The modern tour has never visited anywhere as southerly as Cornwall nor as far north as Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire before.

“For the first time ever, both Wales and Scotland will host two stages apiece in their entirety, while seven of the 12 host venues now announced are new to the race.

“The tour will finish in Scotland for the first time since 2007, with the overall finish in Aberdeen, the final venue on the 2021 route to welcome the tour for the first time.

“Scotland is due to host two stages of the race, with Hawick hosting the tour for the first time and the city of Edinburgh hosting its first-ever stage finish before the final stage begins in Stonehaven.”