On their marks at the Mercat Cross

Cyclist George Atkins joined Edinburgh's Lord Provost at the crossing line for Britain's biggest professional cycle race.

Marking 75 days to go unti the OVO Energy Tour of Britain, mascot TOBi took to the Mercat Cross and City Chambers along the Royal Mile, where the Grand Depart of the race will kick off on 3 September 2017.

The 188-kilometre stage will head from the heart of Edinburgh, finishing in Kelso’s Market Square in the Scottish Borders.

Edinburgh's Lord Provost, Frank Ross, said: “Thousands of fans are sure to be drawn to Edinburgh for the spectacular sight of the Tour of Britain Grand Depart. Cycling’s finest will set off from the Royal Mile before winding through our Old Town and towards East Lothian. We’re delighted to be hosting the first leg of the competition in Edinburgh for the very first time.”

Race Director, Mick Bennett, said: “We are delighted to be starting this year’s OVO Energy Tour of Britain from the very heart of Edinburgh, in what will be a first for the Tour. The city’s Royal Mile is a world famous location, while we have the beautiful coastline and countryside of East Lothian on route and the fantastic Scottish Borders towns and climbs on our finishing circuit, which added together will make for a varied and beautiful opening stage.”

Stage One will tackle three SKODA King of the Mountains climbs, the first at Redstone Rig in East Lothian, an 8-kilometre climb last used in the 2015 Tour of Britain. Two further categorised climbs will come at Scott’s View and the Eildon Hills in the Scottish Borders, both of which are located on the loop that riders will tackle having passed through Kelso.

Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland’s Director of Events, added: “Scotland is the perfect stage for the grand depart of this year’s Tour of Britain. The iconic Royal Mile, East Lothian’s beautiful coastline and the rolling hills of the Scottish Borders will provide a spectacular backdrop for both spectators and riders alike on the opening stage.

“EventScotland is proud to be a long-term partner of the Tour of Britain. Cycling events like the Tour of Britain play a key role in Scotland’s visitor economy and with more than 2,000 miles of the National Cycle Network covering the country, it is the ideal chance to encourage people to get out and discover Scotland on two wheels.”

September will mark the first time that the OVO Energy Tour of Britain has begun overall in Edinburgh, with the race last visiting the city for the Start of Stage Four in 2015.

Kelso last hosted a stage finish of the race in 2015, when Stage Three finished in the grounds of Floors Castle on the edge of the town in a stage won by Team Sky’s Elia Viviani.  This year will be the fifth time that the Scottish Borders have hosted a stage of Britain’s premier road cycling event.

The OVO Energy 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 door step, taking place between Sunday 3 and Sunday 10 September 2017.

Find out more at http://www.tourofbritain.co.uk/

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