Starting point for Scottish Stage confirmed

PEEBLES has been confirmed as the starting point for this year's Scottish stage of the Tour of Britain 2009. First Minister Alex Salmond made the announcement after the cabinet meeting in Melrose this week.

The stage, which covers more than 150km, will start at Peebles and end in Gretna Green, taking in some of Scotland's iconic countryside and places of interest along the way including Melrose RFC, Bowden Hill, a gruelling climb at Lime Kiln Edge, Glentress and Newcastleton, Harelaw Hill and Langholm.

The Scottish Stage will take place on Monday, September 14 and will welcome 96 riders from 16 teams around the world - Scotland will host stage three of the iconic tour which runs from September 12-19.

First Minister Alex Salmond said: "The South of Scotland will provide a stunning backdrop for competitors and spectators alike. The Scottish stage should prove to be an exciting sporting event, and I'm sure many people will come along to enjoy the atmosphere."

The event has been secured for the South of Scotland through a partnership of EventScotland, the national events agency, Scottish Borders Council and Dumfries and Galloway Council.

Paul Bush, Chief Operating Officer at EventScotland, said: "EventScotland and Dumfries and Galloway Council have supported the Scottish stage of the Tour of Britain since 2005 and this year nearly 100 cyclists will race through the Scottish Borders to the finish line in Dumfries and Galloway.

"Both areas already have a strong reputation as world class cycling destinations and the Tour of Britain will be welcomed with enormous excitement.

Hugh Roberts, commercial director of Tour of Britain, said: "To be able to come back to Dumfries and Galloway and for the first time to the Scottish Borders is an exciting prospect for the Tour of Britain.

"Our partners from Dumfries and Galloway Council and Scottish Borders Council have provided us with the confidence that Stage 3 from Peebles to Gretna Green will be a challenging one for the riders and at the same time an exciting one for all the spectators."