Edinburgh’s Royal Mile is the place to be today for the Grand Depart of the 2017 OVO Energy Tour of Britain. The race begins at 10.30am and spectating is free.
The waiting is over and the cyclists are ready to go for the opening stage of Britain’s biggest professional cycle race, the Tour of Britain. Beginning at 10.30am (spectator arrival by 9am is recommended) on the Royal Mile outside St Giles’ Cathedral the 2017 race promises to be a superb spectacle with 20 teams starting the race and a line-up featuring ten UCI WorldTour teams including all of the top five teams in the current UCI WorldTour rankings – Quick-Step Floors; Team Sky; BMC Racing; Movistar Team and Orica Scot
Following the depart of the world’s top teams and riders in Stage One, amateur cyclists will have the chance to ride around Edinburgh on traffic-free roads in the HSBC UK City Ride.
Stage One of the race is a 190km route from Edinburgh to Kelso. Starting outside St Giles’ Cathedral the peloton will race through East Lothian and into the Scottish Borders with the finish coming in the town of Kelso. The stage will also include a 79-kilometre loop in the Scottish Borders, giving fans at the finish in Kelso town centre the opportunity to see the world’s top riders in action twice. This is a map of the Stage One route in full.
Among the star names to look out for are recently crowned European Champion Alexander Kristoff, World Time Trial Champion Tony Martin and Team Sky’s Michal Kwiatkowski. Also riding for Team Sky are Geraint Thomas and Owain Doull with Thomas, who won the opening stage of the Tour de France in Dusseldorf this July, making his return from injury at the race.
Meanwhile riding for the Moviestar Team is multiple British Time Trial Champion Alex Dowsett, and in a real bonus for cycling fans British sprint superstar Mark Cavendish returns for Dimension Data having recovered from the injuries he sustained when crashing out of the Tour de France.
Spectators are advised to arrive from 9am as the teams begin to arrive. The race starts at 10.30am heading out from Edinburgh’s Royal Mile before passing through East Lothian and into the Scottish Borders ahead of the finish in Kelso.
Spectating is free throughout the route. See below for a guide to the best vantage points: and don’t miss this opportunity to see a peleton full of cycling superstars up close and personal!
Best spectator vantage points courtesy of Tour of Britain:-
Stage One starts from outside St Giles Cathedral on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile at 10.30am with spectators advised to arrive for 9am as teams begin to arrive and sign-on, with each of the 20 world-class teams being presented to the crowd on the podium. In addition to promo stands from Tour partners OVO Energy, Oakley and Dare2b all of the team vehicles will be parked on High Street and Cockburn Street ahead of the Grand Depart.
With Stage One using the same loop of roads in the city as the HSBC UK City Ride afterwards, the Meadows will be another great location to watch and see the action twice, especially if you’re riding in the freeride event afterwards. A further spectacular location, sure to feature prominently in the live television coverage on ITV4 is Duddington Low Road through Holyrood Park, with the famous backdrop of Arthur’s Seat.
The East Lothian towns and villages of Musselburgh, Cockenzie and Port Seton, Longniddry, Haddington and Pencaitland all lie on the opening kilometres of the route, while Gifford hosts the first intermediate Eisberg Sprint of the 2017 race at around 11.50am, sponsored by leading alcohol free wine brand Eisberg, where riders will battle for points towards the Eisberg Sprints Jersey.
Shortly after riders tackle the first SKODA King of the Mountains climb of the race at Redstone Rigg in the Lammermuir Hills, with the race expected to reach the summit at around midday. Fans in the Scottish Borders are spoilt for choice on where to watch, with the Tour racing through Duns (approximately 12.30) and Coldstream, where there will be another Eisberg Sprint (approximately 1pm) before passing through the centre of Kelso twice, at around 1.30pm and again for the finish at approximately 3.20pm.
As well as a big screen showing the whole race live, Kelso will host the official promo zone with stands from Tour partners and a static bike challenge. And with the race taking in a 79-kilometre loop of the Scottish Borders, there is also the chance for fans to watch at one of the SKODA King of the Mountains climbs in the beautiful locations of Scott’s View (approximately 2.30pm) or above Melrose near the Eildon Hills (approximately 2.45pm) the latter just after the final Eisberg Sprint in Melrose High Street.
For full details of Stage One, including timings, an interactive stage map and a downloadable stage map and profile please click here.
About the OVO Energy Tour of Britain: Re-launched in 2004 after a five year absence from the calendar, 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 doorstep. The OVO Energy Tour of Britain is the UK’s highest ranked professional stage race and the country’s largest free-to-watch sporting event, organised annually by SweetSpot Group. Ranked at the 2.HC level by the UCI, the OVO Energy Tour of Britain attracts the world’s top cyclists, including Olympic and World Champions and Tour de France stage winners, to compete on British roads each September, with three-hours of live coverage a day on ITV4.