South Scotland

Tour of Britain begins with Glasgow to Castle Douglas stage

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Media captionRiders set off from George Square in Glasgow

Cycling stars - including eight medallists from the Rio Olympics - have raced from Glasgow to Castle Douglas as the Tour of Britain got under way.

The opening stage of the week-long event is the only one in Scotland. Riders left Glasgow and headed south.

The route took in Kilmarnock, Auchinleck, Cumnock and Dalmellington.

Mark Cavendish, a favourite to win, crashed on the final corner with Andre Greipel winning the opening stage for Lotto Soudal.

Cavendish rode away from the crash, which also involved Team Sky's Elia Viviani.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Andre Greipel won the opening stage
Image copyright TOB
Image caption The Tour of Britain started on Sunday morning in George Square, Glasgow
Image copyright Tour of Britain/Ordnance Survey
Image caption Stage One saw riders head from Glasgow to Castle Douglas in Dumfries and Galloway
Image copyright Pedalwise
Image caption Large crowds gathered to see the tour start in Glasgow's George Square

Best in the business

Image copyright PA
Image caption Sir Bradley Wiggins traded Rio for the west of Scotland this weekend. He finished safely in the peleton.

The Tour of Britain has grown in stature in recent years and now attracts some of the biggest names in the sport.

Olympic medallists Mark Cavendish, Sir Bradley Wiggins, Owain Doull, Elia Viviani, Jack Bobridge, Alex Edmondson, Michael Hepburn and Tom Dumoulin are all among the line-up.

Former world hour record holder Rohan Dennis and German sprinter Andre Greipel, nicknamed The Gorilla, are other high profile riders taking part.

Building a legacy

Image caption Sky Ride also took place in Glasgow on Sunday

Sports bodies hope that staging major events can also help to create the stars of the future or simply encourage people to get more exercise.

Hours after the Tour of Britain started in Glasgow, the Sky Ride cycling event kicked off in the city. 12,000 cyclists of all ages took part in the event, which was started by Sir Chris Hoy.

Vicky Strange, head of development at Cycling Scotland, said: "To have such a big event now coming to Scotland for its first stage is just fantastic.

"The Tour of Britain is one of the biggest events on the calendar - it has really gained in profile.

"So to have the big names coming to Scotland and having these people - household names - right there on your doorstep and we can all get the chance to go and see them up close, I think is hugely inspirational for us."

Past winners of the Tour of Britain's previous visits to Scotland are:

  • 2005 - Nick Nuyens (Bel) Glasgow to Castle Douglas
  • 2006 - Martin Pedersen (Den) Glasgow to Castle Douglas
  • 2007 - Paul Manning (GB) Dumfries to Glasgow
  • 2008 - Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Glasgow to Drumlanrig
  • 2009 - Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Peebles to Gretna
  • 2011 - Mark Cavendish (GB) Peebles to Dumfries
  • 2012 - Mark Cavendish (GB) Jedburgh to Dumfries
  • 2013 - Elia Viviani (Ita) Peebles to Drumlanrig

Economic impact

Large crowds gathered at the start and finish of the race will provide a boost for businesses in the area.

Dumfries and Galloway Council, which has hosted the event on a number of occasions, estimates the visitor expenditure at between £250,000 and £300,000.

There is also a further boost for accommodation providers with the huge entourage which follows a major cycling race.

Image copyright Alastair Rushworth
Image caption Spectators gathered along the route. Alastair Rushworth Tweeted this picture of his spot.

Promotional role

Television coverage of the race, which is beamed around the world, is seen as providing a major opportunity to raise the tourist profile of an area.

It has previously been estimated to translate to the equivalent of an advertising campaign costing hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Councils which have helped to host the event will hope it shows off the attractions of the west and south of Scotland to its very best.

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