Tour or­gan­is­ers slammed for avoid­ing New Gal­loway

The Galloway News - - NEWS -

Or­gan­is­ers of the Tour of Bri­tain cy­cle race have been crit­i­cised for not go­ing through New Gal­loway.

The route un­veiled last week shows the first stage will start in Glas­gow be­fore head­ing through Ayr­shire to the Glenkens, into Cas­tle Dou­glas and then round the coast to Kirkcud­bright.

But New Gal­loway res­i­dent Stu­art Lit­tle­wood is up­set that the town has once again been missed out, just as it was when the race last came to the re­gion in 2016.

And while coun­cil of­fi­cials have told him the re­gion’s econ­omy could ben­e­fit by as much as £300,000 as well as me­dia ex­po­sure, Mr Lit­tle­wod is un­con­vinced the country’s smallest royal burgh will see any ben­e­fit.

Mr Lit­tle­wood said: “It is no use kid­ding our­selves that the rid­ers zip­ping past at speed on the A713 will bring any sig­nif­i­cant tourism to New Gal­loway and we are still none the wiser about the rea­sons for be­ing side­lined once again.

“A qual­ity ex­pe­ri­ence for spec­ta­tors, and the tourism that would bring, are just as im­por­tant to this royal burgh as to Kirkcud­bright. But if the Tour by­passes us, so will any eco­nomic ben­e­fit.

“It’s hard to be­lieve the coun­cil has no lev­er­age.”

A coun­cil spokesman said: “Coun­cil of­fi­cers worked closely with Tour of Bri­tain staff to plan the route, with the fi­nal de­ci­sion clearly rest­ing with the tour or­gan­i­sa­tion.

“The race will come through Dalry, pass very close to New Gal­loway, and en­ter Cas­tle Dou­glas on the A713, in­volv­ing all of these com­mu­ni­ties in the UK’s blue riband cy­cling event.”

Tour of Bri­tain route di­rec­tor, Andy Hawes, ex­plained why New Gal­loway isn’t be­ing vis­ited even though the race will be go­ing within a few kilo­me­tres of the town.

He said: “While on the out­side it may look like a small de­tour to visit New Gal­loway, the work that has al­ready gone on be­hind the scenes is quite in depth at this stage, so much so that it would be a con­sid­er­able change from a plan­ning per­spec­tive.

“Look­ing back to 2016 we were within 30 kilo­me­tres of the fin­ish in Cas­tle Dou­glas and keep­ing the race on the same road to the fin­ish made perfect sense.We knew the stage would end in a bunch sprint so the teams would be work­ing hard to­gether at the front of the race and trav­el­ling at a high speed by this point.

“Fast for­ward onto 2019 the same route was cho­sen again as we knew it was a great stretch of road, with a good sur­face and with very lit­tle in the way of de­vi­a­tion and road fur­ni­ture. It also leads to one of the very few un­der­passes of the A75.

“We are al­ways keen to look at new places along the route and will of course con­sider New Gal­loway in the fu­ture and we are sorry that we have missed it out for 2019.”

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