Further details of the Scottish stages of this year’s Aviva Tour of Britain have been confirmed, with British Cycling’s premier road cycling event set for a spectacular route through the heart of the Scottish capital and a stage finish at Floors Castle in Kelso, on separate days.
Edinburgh will host the Start of Stage Four on Wednesday 9 September from Holyrood Park, with the route then heading past the Scottish Parliament and up the Royal Mile towards Edinburgh Castle, the first visit by a national Tour to Edinburgh since May 1999.
A day before, on Tuesday 8 September, Floors Castle, the home of the Duke of Roxburghe, outside Kelso in the Scottish Borders will host the Stage Three Finish. It will be the fourth visit for the modern Tour of Britain to the Scottish Borders, but the first time that the area has hosted a stage finish.
Paul Bush OBE, Director of Events at VisitScotland said: “Scotland is gearing up to welcome the Aviva Tour of Britain and the top international cyclists and enthusiasts it brings with it from around the world.”
“Scotland is the perfect stage for events with a global reputation for cycling and I’m certain the stages unveiled today will offer up some of Scotland’s most iconic and picturesque locations as a backdrop across the handlebars, as well as a fantastic spectator experience for all ages.”
The first of the two day’s racing in Scotland will begin south of the border in Cockermouth, Cumbria, crossing into Scotland at Gretna Green in Dumfries and Galloway. The route then passes through Canonbie and follows Liddesdale, with Newcastleton hosting an intermediate YodelDirect Sprint, sponsored by parcel delivery company Yodel.
The first SKODA King of the Mountains climb will come on the B6357 in Wauchope Forest with a second following soon afterwards on the A7 outside Hawick.
The route then takes in Selkirk and Melrose before the third and final SKODA King of the Mountains climb in the Eildon Hills with Stage Three descending back to the Tweed Valley via St Boswells for the run in to Kelso along the A699.
Crossing the River Tweed and past the remains of Kelso Abbey, riders will tackle a short section of cobbles through the square inside the final kilometre before the finish close to Floors Castle on the Roxburgh Estate.
Councillor Stuart Bell, Scottish Borders Council’s Executive Member for Economic Development, said: “The Scottish Borders is Scotland’s leading cycling destination, and it is therefore fitting that the Aviva Tour of Britain visits our area on two consecutive days this year, including the sensational spectacle of some of the world’s top cyclists racing over Kelso’s cobbles and into the grounds of Floors Castle for our first ever stage finish. The Tour arrives in our area just days after the first commercial services run on the Borders Railway and this will enable more visitors than ever to come and see this world class event.”
After Stage Four departs from Holyrood Park Wednesday 9 September the route will showcase some of Edinburgh’s most famous sights, heading past the Scottish Parliament and up the Royal Mile through the UNESCO World Heritage Old Town towards Edinburgh Castle.
The route will descend from the castle along Johnston Terrace continuing via Melville Drive through The Meadows back to Holyrood Park, passing below Arthur’s Seat and east out of the city.
Councillor Richard Lewis, Edinburgh’s Festivals and Events Champion, said: “This will be the first time in history that the UK’s most prestigious cycle race traces the winding streets of the Scottish Capital and it’s going to be a spectacular sight. As the starting point and host city of the Scottish stage and with the dramatic backdrop of Edinburgh Castle, Palace of Holyrood House and ancient volcano Arthur’s Seat, Edinburgh is the place to be to experience the thrill of the Aviva Tour of Britain.”
After leaving the city of Edinburgh on Wednesday 9 September Stage Four will race through East Lothian, the first time the Aviva Tour of Britain has visited, passing Musselburgh race course and following the coast through Prestonpans and Cockenzie and Port Seton.
Councillor John McMillan, East Lothian Council’s spokesperson for Economic Development and Tourism, said: “We are absolutely delighted that the UK’s most prestigious cycle race is coming to East Lothian – and to have a sprint and King of the Mountain in our area will, I’m sure, draw a large number of spectators. The cyclists will be passing through some beautiful East Lothian landscapes too so I’m sure it will be a treat for those watching on television as well.”
Stage Four continues in East Lothian through Pencaitland and Gifford, with the latter also hosting an intermediate YodelDirect Sprint. A final Scottish SKODA King of the Mountains climb will come in the Lammermuir Hills above Whiteadder Reservoir.
The route then crosses back into the Scottish Borders for the second day, racing through the centres of Duns and Coldstream, heading on south into Northumberland, via Wooler, Alnwick and Warkworth for the finish in Blyth.
Chief Executive for Scottish Cycling Craig Burn says:
“Scottish Cycling are delighted to see the return of a national tour to Scotland’s Capital City in it’s two day visit to Scotland. Scottish Cycling is continuing to see an upsurge in interest in all areas of cycling. The Aviva Tour of Britain is a great showcase for cycling in Scotland and the hard work of the daily activities of our 178 clubs and the 600 plus events staged annually by our clubs and members.”
The Aviva Tour of Britain is British Cycling’s premier road cycling event giving cycling fans the opportunity to see the world’s best teams and riders competing on their door step.