Capital prepares for arrival of Tour of Britain

Sir Bradley Wiggins. Picture: Getty Images
Sir Bradley Wiggins. Picture: Getty Images
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It is Britain’s premier cycle race, a major attraction for big-name riders from all over the world – and on Wednesday it is arriving in the Capital.

The Tour of Britain is an eight­-stage race that tests both stamina and endurance on an incredible 900-mile route across Britain.

Mark Cavendish wins a stage in Dumfries during the 2012 event. Picture: Phil Wilkinson

Mark Cavendish wins a stage in Dumfries during the 2012 event. Picture: Phil Wilkinson

Starting in Wales yesterday, the fourth ­stage of the route will begin at Holyrood Park and will pass by some of Edinburgh’s most famous landmarks as it heads through the city and towards Musselburgh.

The first time the race has been held in the Capital since 1999, thousands of spectators are expected to line the streets, with the city’s economy expecting a £6 million windfall.

And for those who can’t make it, ITV4 will broadcast live coverage which is being beamed to a global audience of eight million viewers in 120 countries.

The free-to-watch stage starts at 10am and spectators can explore the Tour of Britain Village near the start line, where there will be refreshment stalls and several specialist cycling shops.

The Clan Stunt Team will also be there in the morning performing in one of their spectacular shows, featuring a variety of daredevil stunts including jumps, flips and tricks.

Iain Withers, of The Clan Stunt Team, said: “We’re really excited to be part of it all. We’ve been involved in the Tour of Britain at various different stages for the last six or seven years.

“There is always a great vibe and we are all promoting cycling in different ways.

“The Tour of Britain cyclists are doing extreme cycling that calls for speed and endurance, our riders are doing extreme stunts.”

Racers will cycle past the Scottish Parliament, up the Royal Mile towards the Castle, before descending down into Johnstone Terrace and through the Meadows before circling round Arthur’s Seat.

Roads will be closed on a rolling basis, reopening immediately after the last cyclist has left, in a bid to keep travel disruption to a minimum.

From there, the route takes the cyclists into Musselburgh and through East Lothian.

After entering East Lothian, the race will take cyclists through Gifford, Duns and Ford before crossing into north­-east England and travelling down past Wooler, Alnwick and Ashington before finishing in Blyth, near Morpeth.

Amongst the pack will be four-time Olympic gold medallist and Tour de France winner Sir Bradley Wiggins, British cycling champion Mark Cavendish and the Dutch 2014 race title holder Dylan Van Baarle. Lothian’s own Evan Oliphant will also be competing.

It is hoped that by hosting a stage start in the Tour of Britain, Edinburgh may one day secure the chance to host the Grand Depart of the Tour de France, which the city narrowly missed out on in 2014 when Yorkshire was chosen instead.

Councillor Richard Lewis said: “Elite cyclists from all over the world will descend on the Capital and the dramatic backdrop of Edinburgh’s winding streets will make for a spectacular sight.

“This is going to be a must­see event for both local people and visitors to the city.”

Tourism body VisitScotland has predicted that the event will result in a surge of interest in the cycling tourism market.

Chairman Mike Cantlay said: “Our country is already world­-renowned for being one of the best destinations for mountain biking. With the Tour of Britain, the country can boast that its incredible journeys on two wheels are not limited to the off­-road tracks and trails.”

newsen@edinburghnews.com