Thousands of cycling fans gathered in Castle Douglas yesterday afternoon to cheer home Andre Greipel as the Stage 1 winner of the 2016 Tour of Britain, British Cycling’s premier road race.

The German clocked a time of three hours and 52 minutes to pip Caleb Ewan of Australia at the post, with The Netherlands’ Ramon Sinkeldam a short way behind in third.
 
A little under four hours earlier, 126 riders, including the superstars of Rio 2016, Sir Bradley Wiggins, Owain Doull and Mark Cavendish, had pushed-off from a bustling George Square in Glasgow for this year’s Grand Depart. 
 
In total, 21 teams – consisting of Olympic and World Champions, as well as Tour de France stage winners – covered the 100 miles of rolling countryside from Glasgow to Dumfries & Galloway, passing through East Ayrshire on their way south.
 
All along the route, they were greeted by thousands of vocal supporters who’d come out to enjoy world-class road cycling action in glorious sunshine, as well as a number of community activities arranged by each local authority in celebration of the tour’s return to Scotland.
 
Now in its 13th year, the 2016 Tour of Britain will take in eight stages across the length and breadth of Britain, covering over 1,000 miles, before concluding on Sunday 11 September.

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Upon taking the Yellow Jersey presented by Eisberg as the outright leader after Stage 1, Greipel said: “It’s always nice to start off with a victory. We’re setting goals to win a stage and we’ve reached that on the first day. We can be happy.”
 
The first stage of the 2016 Tour of Britain is supported by Dumfries & Galloway Council, EventScotland and Glasgow City Council.
 
Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland’s Director of Events, said:
 
“Attracting some of the biggest names in world sport, we were delighted to welcome the Tour of Britain back to Scotland in 2016, and what a way to begin this year’s race.
 
“Over the 100 miles of scenic road racing, each of riders, spectators and those watching on at home witnessed what makes Scotland the perfect stage for cycling events, and we hope many will be encouraged by what they have seen to take to our roads themselves in the near future.”
 
Councillor Archie Graham OBE, Depute Leader of Glasgow City Council and Chair of Glasgow Life, said:
 
“I’m sure the thousands of people who were here yesterday will agree George Square was the perfect setting for the Tour of Britain Grand Depart. It was a truly fantastic celebration of cycling in one of our most iconic locations, and was a big hit with people of all ages.
 
“The fact that so many spectators then got on their own bikes to take part in Sky Ride Glasgow only added to the atmosphere of the day – and even the weather held out for us.
“I’m now looking forward to enjoying the rest of the Tour of Britain action, and hope that spectators across the country get as much enjoyment from this event as we did here in Glasgow.”
 
Councillor Colin Smyth, Dumfries & Galloway Council’s Events Champion, said:
 
“Castle Douglas is a beautiful market town that is serious about cycling. As a Council, we feel privileged to have worked with the Tour of Britain and local people to have brought the Tour to the town for the third time. The residents and business of Castle Douglas have really embraced this event and I’m pleased all the planning paid off in style.”