South Scotland

Glasgow to Castle Douglas stage to kick-off Tour of Britain

Tour of Britain Image copyright Larry Hickmott
Image caption The race has been graced by some of cycling's biggest names in recent years

The Tour of Britain is to visit Scotland once more with an opening stage from Glasgow city centre to Castle Douglas later this year.

Some of the world's best cyclists will compete along a testing route via Ayrshire on 4 September.

The Grand Depart in Glasgow will be the first time the race has visited the city since 2008.

It is the eighth time Dumfries and Galloway has hosted a stage finish and the third one in Castle Douglas.

Outside of London no other region has hosted as many stage finishes since the Tour of Britain was revived in 2004.

Image copyright Tour of Britain
Image caption The route comes from Glasgow to Castle Douglas via Ayrshire

VisitScotland's director of events Paul Bush said: "We are delighted that the first stage of the Tour of Britain will take place in Scotland for the fifth time in 2016 and we are sure that cycling enthusiasts from all of the country will be keen to turn out in support of all competitors.

"Scotland is the perfect stage for cycling events and Glasgow city centre will provide a fantastic setting for the riders as they push off on the first of eight days of competition, before encountering the scenic and challenging countryside of Dumfries and Galloway."

Glasgow City Council's deputy leader Archie Graham said cycling had been "at the heart" of its "rise as one of the world's top sporting cities in recent years".

'Great location'

"The people of Glasgow turned out in their thousands to cheer them on at the 2013 British National Road Race Championships and Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games Road Race events and it will be no different this September," he said.

Colin Smyth of Dumfries and Galloway Council said Castle Douglas had always been "serious about cycling".

"The town boasts three cycling shops and is proud of its history of twice previously hosting the Tour of Britain," he said.

"What a great hat-trick to bring this superb event back to this scenic market town for a third time.

"Castle Douglas is close to beautiful mountain bike trails at Dalbeattie, Mabie and Kirroughtree forests so we believe we are a great location for stage one of the Tour."

Image copyright Mark Runnacles
Image caption It will be the eighth time Dumfries and Galloway has hosted a stage finish

It is hoped the event can inspire both non-cyclists to take up the sport and cyclists to "push themselves".

Craig Burn of Scottish Cycling said it underlined the country's "capability and popularity" in hosting international cycling events.

Tour of Britain race director Mick Bennett said the event was pleased to be returning to Glasgow after such a "long absence".

"The stage will take in some new roads in Ayrshire for the Tour of Britain, as used in the past by the Girvan Cycle Race, before a very scenic run in to the finish in Castle Douglas, which will look fantastic on the television coverage," he said.

After the Scottish stage, the race heads over the border into England with a finish in the heart of London on 11 September.

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