Routes announced for Tour DoonHame

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THE race includes a completely new stage based in Moffat, climbs set amidst the dramatic scenery of the Lowther hills and town centre finishes for all three stages, making the 2011 Tour a ‘must ride’ race for elite road racers from the UK and beyond.

The 2011 Tour DoonHame is a counting event on British Cycling’s Premier Calendar Elite Road Racing Series, and it takes place in the region over the Easter holiday weekend. The Tour attracts a field of up to 140 of the best riders from throughout the UK and further afield, and competitors tackle a testing course in excess of 250 miles over three days.

Race Organiser Ian Sinclair and his team have devised a challenging and competitive route that builds on the experience of last year’s inaugural Tour DoonHame. Sinclair commented, “We have worked hard over the last few months to produce a route worthy of the event’s inclusion on British Cycling’s Premier Calendar.

“In response to competitor feedback we have introduced longer stage mileages, stiffer climbs and town centre finishes. The stage is set and I’m confident that the riders will provide spectators and Eurosport viewers with one of the most fiercely contested events of the 2011 road racing season. It should be great weekend of road racing.”

2011 Tour DoonHame Routes Saturday 23rd April

The opening stage starts and finishes in the picture postcard town of Moffat. The 92 mile stage opens with a brief foray into neighbouring Beattock and continues with two laps of a circuit that climbs from Moffat to Type Knowes before dropping down the technical descent of Greenhillstairs for a pan flat run back to the town. This earlier part of the route also features two of the intermediate, Endura ‘Hot Spot Sprints’ which will be contested in Moffat High Street. A run out to the Lowther Hills will take the riders down the Crawick Valley with a Hot Spot Sprint in Sanquhar closely followed by the seemingly endless climb through the Mennock Pass to the J&B Print ‘King of the Mountains’ point at Wanlockhead. The stage winner, who will earn the first ScottishPower Renewables race leader’s yellow jersey of this year’s race, is expected at the stage finish outside Moffat Town Hall around 3pm.

Sunday 24th April

Stage Two starts from Dumfries Academy and heads out the Kilmarnock road before tracing a ‘back roads’ route to the ‘Kirkpatrick Macmillan Hot Spot Sprint’ at Courthill Smithy where the local man invented the pedal driven bicycle in 1840. With one of humankind’s finest inventions duly honoured, the riders will continue through Penpont, Thornhill and Carronbridge and upwards through the Dalveen Pass to Elvanfoot. The second and last King of the Mountains point of the day is a short, sharp climb from Leadhills to Glengonnar with respite coming in the shape of the Mennock Pass - downhill this time. The route tracks the River Nith briefly then heads back to Penpont past Drumlanrig Castle and Country Estate which houses the impressive Scottish Cycle Museum. The last Hot Spot of the day will be contested in the pretty village of Dunscore before the route winds its way back via Shawhead and Terregles to Dumfries for the stage finish in Whitesands around 1.50 pm. Supporting events will be taking place in Whitesands to entertain spectators as they await the arrival of the race. Further details of these are to follow.

Monday 25th April The final stage will look more familiar to veterans of last year’s Tour DoonHame and Dumfries BikeFest events as the route takes in roads due west of the stage start in Dumfries. A high speed charge along the Lochfoot, Milton, Hardgate road can be expected as contenders in the sprints competition position themselves for the first Hot Spot of the day at Haugh of Urr. The route then passes through the outskirts of Dalbeattie and on to the climb of Craigton Hill before the second of the day’s Hot Spots at Castle Douglas. The flat roads from Laurieston and Mossdale along the west side of Loch Ken will be in complete contrast to Church Brae - a new climb for the Tour - in New Galloway. Hot Spot Sprints also carry time bonuses for the first three across the line and the last one of the 2011 Tour - at St John’s Town of Dalry - should be a cracker as overall race contenders vie with sprinters to grab potentially vital seconds. With the climb past ScottishPower Renewables’ Wether Hill wind farm confirming the J&B Print ‘King of the Mountains’ winner, the final 40 miles of the race will see all eyes on contenders for the race winner’s yellow jersey. A run through Moniaive, Corsock, Old Bridge of Urr, Clarebrand and Townhead of Greenlaw will deliver the riders to the superb stage finish location at Market Hill in Castle Douglas where the leaders are expected around 2.40 pm.