Thousands of screaming fans lined the streets yesterday as cycling stars Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish hit the road for the third stage of the Tour of Britain.
Huge crowds turned out in the glorious sunshine to see Olympic legend and Tour De France winner ‘Wiggo’ and the current world champion Cavendish start the Scottish stage in Jedburgh which runs to Whitesands in Dumfries.
The third leg of the event, which started in Ipswich at the weekend and ends in Guildford on Sunday, is the only time the field of around 100 riders will pass through Scotland as they will then ride from Carlisle to Blackpool for stage 4.
Hundreds of schoolchildren waving union jacks and sporting ‘Wiggo sideburns’ were amongst the crowds who watched Dutch rider Boy van Poppel, who is currently wearing the leader’s gold jersey, lead the pack from Jedburgh Abbey.
Cycling fan Tony Owen, 36, from Jedburgh said: “It was amazing to see the riders here, especially after the excitement of the Olympics.
“I’m a bit of a recent cycling fan to be honest. A few people I’ve spoken to said the same thing.
“The heroics of Team GB really got me interested in the sport and when I heard the tour was coming to Jedburgh I took the day off work.
“Wiggo is a legend. He looked very calm and collected. Cavendish won this stage last year when it was pouring down but the weather has been beautiful for the boys this year.
“I think it’s great for Scottish cycling as well and there were so many schoolchildren here that will have been inspired seeing their heroes up close.”
After leaving Jedburgh at 11am the riders faced a tough Scottish test filled with challenging mountain climbs before heading through Hawick, St Mary’s Loch, Moffat and Johnstonebridge and onto the two sprints in Lochmaben and Dumfries.
The Tour then headed out of Dumfries to New Abbey, Beeswing, Mabie forest and Cargenbridge before heading over the river Nith and back into Dumfries for the final sprint over the finish line on Dumfries Whitesands.