Tour O’ The Borders hits local sportive hard

The start line of the Tour O' The Borders, an event which has almost halved the entries for Hawick CC's Ken Laidlaw Sportive.
The start line of the Tour O' The Borders, an event which has almost halved the entries for Hawick CC's Ken Laidlaw Sportive.

Hawick Cycling Club’s Ken Laidlaw Sportive has seen a massive drop in entries since another Borders cycling event moved to within two weeks of it.

The Tour O’ The Borders event –which organisers say brings in £496,000 economic benefit to the Borders – takes place on August 7, just a fortnight before the Ken Laidlaw Sportive, held for the past nine years to celebrate the success of the Hawick-born cycling legend.

And BarbaraHarrison of Ettrick and Yarrow Community Council said that residents were “very fed up” that for the third year running they will not be able to leave their homes that day.

Hawick CC’s Tosh Scott said: “They originally held the event in April, which was fine, but they had bad weather one year so they changed it to two weeks prior to our event – without consultation with us – which makes no business sense for either of us. For example, our ‘A’ rider said he can’t afford to do both, as they are very expensive.”

Tosh said that he found himself on the course at last year’s Tour O’ The Borders while on a practice ride.

He said: “I was about an hour ahead of the riders, but I was put off the course by their marshalls, who told me I was not allowed to ride on the course and if I did, I would be prosecuted.”

Hamish Smith, co-founder of the Ken Laidlaw Sportive, said: “The year the event moved to August, our entries went down from 500 to 400. And the next year they went down to 300.

“We phoned the council – who are in charge of the road closures – and the lady there said they had so many meetings with Neil Dalgleish and Tweedlove that they forgot about us.

“It does show the difference between a big commercial venture and a small local event that has been run successfully for years by cyclists, for cyclists.”

Tour O’ The Borders organiser Neil Douglas said:”The current date was not our first choice, but was the best option in a difficult calendar.”

“We hoped being two weeks away from the Hawick CC Ken Laidlaw event would not impact on it too badly ... we’re disappointed to hear it is affected – it’s an important local event.”