Scotland has marked 50 days to go until the start of the Tour of Britain by announcing further details of the opening 161-kilometre stage of the race, which will head from Glasgow to Castle Douglas on Sunday 4 September.
The stage will include a circuit in the heart of Glasgow to the start the race, which riders will tackle twice, as well as a trio of SKODA King of the Mountains climbs and intermediate Yodel Sprints, sponsored by parcel delivery company Yodel. Three hours of live coverage will be shown on ITV4, with a further hour’s highlights package on the same channel in the evening.
The stage will start from George Square at 11:30 on Sunday 4 September, finishing at around 15:15 on King Street in Castle Douglas. Riders will complete one neutralised lap of Glasgow before racing begins. The route will include the opening Yodel Sprint in the city centre, and will brush past the city’s Style Mile, taking in famous landmarks such as Glasgow Green.
Following the depart of the Tour of Britain members of the public will have the chance to ride on sections of the traffic-free circuit in the Sky Ride Glasgow.
The route then heads south west to Stewarton (approximately 12:25) and on to Kilmarnock, where the second Yodel Sprint takes place on London Road at around 12:40.
The first two SKODA King of the Mountains climbs come in East Ayrshire just after Cumnock, at Skares and Kerse (approximately 13:25 and 13:45 respectively) before the race heads through the town of Dalmellington (14:00) where the final Yodel Sprint and SKODA King of the Mountains climb will take place in quick succession.
Stage One then crosses into Dumfries and Galloway shortly after the summit of the Dalmellington climb, passing through St John’s Town of Dalry and alongside the picturesque Loch Ken.
The stage is expected to finish in Castle Douglas at around 15:15, racing into town via the A713/Abercromby Road before a left turn onto King Street for the finish.
Paul Bush OBE, Director of Events at VisitScotland said: “We are delighted to host a stage of the Tour of Britain again in 2016, and particularly honoured that this is the prestigious Grand Depart. Scotland is the perfect stage for events and the scenic route from the bustling centre of Glasgow to the picturesque Castle Douglas highlights our qualities and capacity for major competitions such as this.”
Craig Burn, Scottish Cycling Chief Executive said: “Scottish Cycling is excited yet again this year to have the elite racing on our doorstep that the Tour of Britain brings. Scotland has proven itself to be a cycling nation over the past few years, with the Commonwealth Games and securing the European Championships for 2018. To have the Grand Depart in Glasgow and the rest of stage one heading through Ayrshire and Dumfries and Galloway this year makes it all the more special.
“Securing and staging elite racing and major events in Scotland is fundamental to achieving our Inspiration to participation strategy. We will continue to utilise events such as the Tour of Britain to build strategic partnerships with Scotland’s local authorities and other stakeholders to drive our wider cycling ambitions with regards to getting more people riding bikes, be it through local clubs, participation programmes, competition or social cycling.”
It will be the first time that the Tour of Britain has begun in Glasgow since 2006, and the first time the race has visited the city since 2008.
Councillor Archie Graham OBE, Depute Leader of Glasgow City Council and Chair of Glasgow Life, said: “This year sees the Tour of Britain Grand Depart return to Glasgow for the first time in ten years, and the city couldn’t be happier to host the riders once again.
“Glasgow has a proud sporting history – and was recently announced as one of the top five sporting cities in the world. I can’t think of a better place to begin such an iconic race than the world-renowned George Square in the heart of our city.
“The Tour of Britain presents cycling fans with an unparalleled opportunity to see their favourite teams and riders take to the roads through their very own city, and I know the people of Glasgow are very excited to see this event in just 50 days!”
Provost Jim Todd, East Ayrshire Council said: “We are very proud to be welcoming the Tour of Britain to East Ayrshire.
“East Ayrshire is a land of rolling hills and inland beauty, stretching from the south of Glasgow towards the south-west coast of Scotland. Ours is the perfect landscape for cyclists to test their abilities and we are delighted to be hosting both SKODA King of the Mountains climbs and two of the intermediate Yodel Sprints.”
Councillor Colin Smyth, Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Events Champion said, “Anticipation is growing in Castle Douglas as we now count down the days to the arrival of the Tour. It’s a beautiful market town that people enjoy visiting, and will provide a highly scenic backdrop for the drama and excitement of the Stage One finish.”
The 2016 Tour of Britain will feature 120 of the world’s top cyclists from 20 teams, with further details of the teams riding the race to be announced next week. Spectators in Scotland will have the chance to see the teams at first hand on the evening of Saturday 3 September, with a free-to-attend team presentation event in George Square, Glasgow. More information about the team presentation will be published in the coming weeks.
The 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.