Tour of Britain heads for Galloway

Castle Douglas gets ready to host the Tour of Britain cycling race
Castle Douglas gets ready to host the Tour of Britain cycling race

The Tour of Britain, now in its thirteenth year, starts its eight day, one thousand plus miles route through the UK, on Sunday 4 September.

Day One is a testing one hundred mile stage between Glasgow and Castle Douglas.

The 2016 Tour has attracted a top notch cycling field, choc a bloc with world class performers. British favourites Sir Bradley Wiggins, Mark Cavendish and Owain Doull and European stars Tom Dumoulin, Wout Poels, Giacomo Nizzolo and Andre Greipel are all part of the field that is expected to contest a bunch sprint finish in Castle Douglas.

Excitement is mounting in the food town as retailers and cafes prepare for an influx of more than 10,000 visitors.

Councillor Colin Smyth, who is Events Champion said: “As a Council we are dedicated to providing the best possible service to the Tour of Britain and the people and businesses of Castle Douglas to celebrate the arrival of this legendary event to our area. The Council’s investment will bring thousands of visitors to Castle Douglas on the day and help promote Dumfries and Galloway across the globe. World class sport is coming live to our region and I can’t wait for Sunday.”

The Tour of Britain’s Race Director Mick Bennett added; “We are delighted with the way that Castle Douglas and the wider community have embraced the return of the Tour of Britain, ten years after it last finished in the town.

The Tour of Britain has grown from then to be one of the world’s top events, and this year we are particularly delighted to see several of our successful Olympians racing, just a couple of weeks after their exploits in Rio. I am confident that the size and scale of the Tour of Britain is almost unrecognisable from that of 2006, with our largest ever field of 126 riders, and three-hours of live tv coverage at home and around the planet.”

The race is intended to inspire people of all ages to enjoy and take up cycling.

Fiona Walker of Scottish Cycling has been actively involved in the planning for Sunday.

She said: “Scottish Cycling works to develop cycle sport and provide opportunities to participate – this could be through club development, supporting event organisers to put on accessible events and training coaches and leaders and developing cycle sport facilities. Across the past four years Scottish Cycling has grown massively, with membership fast approaching 11,000.

“We know that major events have been key in helping this number to grow and therefore we are delighted that the Tour of Britain Stage 1 finish is in the South West region in Castle Douglas this year – securing and staging elite racing is fundamental to achieving our ‘inspiration to participation’ strategy.

“They are also a great way of bringing communities together so in the South West region we have been working with local clubs and Active Schools to put on support events and skills workshops around the finish itself to get everyone involved.”