what a difference three years can make. If Edinburgh had announced three years ago that the Tour of Britain was on its way to the city, the public reaction would have been largely one of indifference. ‘What’s that exactly?’ and ‘Is there a tour of Britain as well as France?’ might have been typical responses. And, if the truth be told, there are many who will be asking those same questions today.
But there will be no signs of that indifference in September when what is now one of the nation’s great sporting spectacles comes to town.
These days huge crowds, eager to catch a glimpse of stars like Sir Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish, line the streets wherever the British tour goes.
Coming in early September, it will be a money-spinner for the city’s tourist industry, just after the Festival departs. But more than that it promises to be an event to be treasured, not just the diehard cycling enthusiasts – of which, of course, there are ever-growing numbers – but also for the casual sports fans and the simply curious.
Anyone who has seen the Tour de France sweep through France will know the excitement which it can bring.
Cycling is not of course a national passion, like it is across the Channel, but our relationship with it has changed utterly since the golden summer when Sir Chris Hoy wrote himself into the Olympic record books and Sir Bradley Wiggins grabbed our collective imagination by winning Le Tour. More of us than ever cycle and more of us are interested in watching its stars in action.
September’s visit of “Oor Tour” will only fuel that interest and inspire more youngsters to get out on two wheels. Hopefully, it will also be another step towards securing a visit from the main event to our beautiful city.
And, with a bit of luck, they’ll even fix a few of our potholes, so that Sir Brad does not come a cropper on one of our craters.