Published: Tuesday, 10th September 2019
The Scottish Borders welcomed the OVO Energy Tour of Britain with bright sunshine and huge crowds on Sunday 8 September.
The Stage Two start in Kelso was very well attended, with large numbers of people watching some of the world’s top professional cyclists roll out of town at 11am ahead of a 166km route around the Scottish Borders.
With a variety of entertainment throughout the day, live coverage of the race on two large screens and many shops and food and drink businesses open too, the town centre was busy right through until the stage finish at 3pm.
A spectator survey is available, with an opportunity to win Tour of Britain and partner prizes for those who complete it and choose to enter the free prize draw.
Councillor Mark Rowley, Executive Member for Business and Economic Development
“We had the perfect day for the Scottish Borders hosting the Tour of Britain and it was fantastic to see so many people in Kelso, not just for the start and finish but throughout the day, and I am sure that many local businesses will have had one of their busiest days of the year.
“It was equally pleasing to see large numbers of people watching all along the route, and not just in towns and villages, and the global television coverage will certainly have shown off our beautiful region at its very best.
“Our commitment and investment to bringing major events to the area is a key part of our economic development strategy and the success of the event on Sunday will have had a significant positive impact, both on the day itself and also in its legacy – in this case highlighting what an amazing event arena Kelso town centre is and why we are Scotland’s leading cycling destination.”
Entertainment for all the family
Charity Live Borders and Visit Kelso put on a range of entertainment and activities during the day in the town centre, with local musicians and members of Live Borders’ Borders Young Creatives programme Becc and Forth, Evie Archenhold and Erin Highton taking to the podium stage.
There was also a cycle pump track/skills area and drop-in spinning fitness sessions and the ‘Great British Bike Off’, with Kelso Wheeler Callum Dickson taking the title of fastest local after racing to 1000m on a static bike in just 55 seconds.
Many town centre businesses also got into the spirit of the day with fabulous window displays. The winner was Clothworks, with Tweed Podiatry and Evie Jane Fabrics following close behind.
Tina Newton, Chair of Visit Kelso
“The town looked amazing on Sunday for the Tour of Britain and the atmosphere was electric. The sunshine really did help to show Kelso off at its best, with many businesses opening especially for the occasion. Along with those who had decorated their windows to compliment the Tour and all the activities in and around The Square, it certainly made for an exciting day.
“And as for the finish, what can I say, it was nail biting! Cheering Alex Dowsett on to be the first British stage winner of this year’s race and then him being pipped at the post by Matteo Trentin really was spectacular.
“Many of the people visiting the town commented on how lovely it is here and while they had come to see the bikes they will be back to take in the whole town.”
A selection of images are available from SBC’s Flickr page.
About the OVO Energy Tour of Britain
The 2019 OVO Energy Tour of Britain will finish in Greater Manchester on Saturday 14 September.
Re-launched in 2004 after a five-year absence from the calendar, the OVO Energy Tour of Britain is British Cycling’s premier road cycling event, held annually across eight days in September.
The free-to-watch sporting spectacular features Olympic, World and Tour de France champions, and attracts a roadside audience of over 1.5m spectators. Live coverage of the race is shown daily in the UK on ITV4 and Eurosport, in addition to over 170 countries worldwide.
The OVO Energy Tour of Britain is ranked at 2.HC level by the UCI, cycling’s governing body, making it one of the most prestigious sporting events in the sport’s global calendar.