THE Borders is gearing up for the arrival of some of the world's top cyclists this weekend.

Stage two of the OVO Energy Tour of Britain will start and finish in Kelso, with the whole 166km of Sunday's route taking place within the Scottish Borders.

While thousands are expected to line the roads in Coldstream, Paxton, Chirnside, Duns, Gordon, Melrose and Maxton, the real buzz will be in the Tour Village.

Dozens of stalls will be set up in Kelso town centre, with Scottish Borders Council, Visit Kelso and Live Borders also arranging a variety of entertainment and fun activities to run throughout the day.

Two big screens will broadcast the race live and there will be a cycle pump track/skills area, drop-in spinning fitness sessions, a disability bike demonstration and live music from up and coming local performers.

Many local businesses will also open especially for the day, with thousands of spectators set to head to the town for the race action.

Tina Newton, chair of Visit Kelso, said: “Thanks to our members and some funding from Scottish Borders Council we are delighted to have been able to put on lots of events and competitions to encourage businesses and residents to make the most of this opportunity to promote our town to a huge audience.

“There are not many events in the town that can boast a global television audience so we’re going to make sure that Kelso is looking at its very best.”

The world’s top professional cycling teams and riders are expected to arrive in Kelso from 9am on Sunday, with the team buses parking up in The Knowes car park.

The Tour Village will open at 10am where the riders will sign on at the podium until 10.50am, before the race start at 11am.

Setting the atmosphere ahead of the professional racers, junior and adult riders from Kelso Wheelers, Kelso Breezers, Live Borders Advanced Rider Development squad and current regional cycling champions along with this representatives of the hosts for this year's championship event, Galashiels Academy Cycling Club, will ride along the start/finish straight.

Councillor Mark Rowley, spokesman for Business and Economic Development, told us: “We have worked closely with our partners including the event organisers, Visit Kelso and Live Borders to ensure there is lots for visitors to do and see in Kelso throughout the day.

“This is the first time that we’ve hosted both a stage start and finish and we hope to build on the success of the event in 2017, which was a fantastic occasion with an estimated 10,000 spectators in Kelso.”

The Scottish Borders stage will start in Kelso town centre, travel along the A698 to Coldstream before passing through Lennel en-route to Paxton.

From there it will take the riders west, taking in Chirnside and Preston.

Cutting across from Ellemford to Longformacus, the race will then drop down into Duns and pass through Gavinton and Westruther.

Gordon, Smailholm and then Clintmains all feature on the route before the climb to Scott’s View and descent to the foot of Leaderfoot viaduct.

After passing through Gattonside, the riders will turn in to Melrose and climb Dingleton Hill before a fast run through Maxton to the finish line back in Kelso.

The finish is estimated to be at around 3.15pm.

Once again ITV4 will screen three-hours of live coverage of every stage, with broadcasters around the world also signed up to cover the event.

Free parking will be available at Border Events Centre, Springwood Park.