The Scottish Borders hosted another exciting stage of the AJ Bell Tour of Britain yesterday, the ninth time in 13 years the race has come to the area.
Stage two of this year’s race took the riders from Hawick to Duns, with almost the entirety of the stage taking place within the Scottish Borders.
After a photo finish, Cees Bol of Team DSM was declared the winner ahead of Jake Stewart of the Great Britain team. This followed an action packed day of racing, including multiple attacks in the final stages.
Local star Oscar Onley, also of Team DSM, finished in the pack despite a fall as the race climbed through the Lammermuir hills. He heads into stage three of the race in 30th position overall, just 14 seconds behind the race leader Corbin Strong of Israel - Premier Tech.
Councillor Scott Hamilton, Executive Member for Community and Business Development
“The weather was fantastic and significant numbers of spectators were in Hawick and Duns, and at the roadside along the entire route, to see some of the world’s best riders in action.
“The Tour of Britain provides us with worldwide media coverage of this fantastic area and helps to strengthen our reputation as one of the best places in Scotland to cycle. It was particularly appropriate that the first South of Scotland Cycling Strategy was also launched yesterday, which aims to cement the region as the Scotland’s leading cycling destination and make it a world-class cycling centre of excellence.
“Our investment into bringing events like the Tour of Britain to the Scottish Borders is a key part of our events strategy, bringing visitors to the area, supporting the local economy and delivering long lasting benefits – including encouraging more people to take up or return to cycling.”
Supported by funding from EventScotland, a range of local activities took place in Hawick and in Duns, including involving local schools, Greener Duns and BAVS, all celebrating the ‘Power of the Bike’
In Hawick, local ladies cycling group Breeze took to the roads ahead of the race start, while 40 local school pupils also rode out ahead of the professionals. A window dressing competition for town centre businesses was won by Henderson Travel and Style Ahead, while the whole town was decorated with a cycling theme.
In Duns, the window dressing competition winner was Albany Gifts & Interiors. Local social enterprise Allanbank Arts also worked with pupils from Duns Primary School and Berwickshire High School to put on cycle-themed art displays in the Tour Village at the finish line and create a piece of land art to celebrate the race’s visit.
Justine Miller of Allanbank Arts said: “It has been wonderful to have the opportunity to work with the young people of Duns again, and to be part of extending a warm welcome to the Tour of Britain to our town.”
About the Tour of Britain
Relaunched in 2004 after a five-year absence from the calendar, the 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, in addition to around the world. The Tour of Britain is part of the UCI ProSeries, making it one of the most prestigious sporting events in the sport’s global calendar.