Tour organisers slammed for avoiding New Galloway
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.”