CLAIMS from Scottish Borders Council that it did not cause the cancellation of a major cycling event have been described as “disingenuous”.

Hillside Outside, which runs the Tour O The Borders, announced last week that it had cancelled its event for 2024 - but still plans to host 'Touro' in September this year.

In response to a statement made by SBC yesterday (June 15), Neil Dalgleish, the company's event director, said: "It’s utterly ridiculous to suggest that it was our own decision not to run Touro in 2024 or beyond – the event is of fundamental importance to us staying in business.

"This is a sad and disappointing situation.

"The wording coming from the council does not in our opinion give an accurate reflection of what has been happening over the past few months, and demonstrates an unwillingness to accept responsibility in their part in how we’ve arrived here.

"Most sadly, and no matter what they say, it shows no genuine desire to support the event."

In its statement, SBC said: "The decision not to run The Tour O The Borders event in 2024 was not taken by Scottish Borders Council. 

"The council is fully committed to supporting the event and exploring opportunities to grow upon the success of previous events. We worked extensively with the organisers, Hillside Outside to consider alternative route options and ensure a fresh and engaging experience for participants and communities.

"SBC is hugely disappointed by the organiser’s decision to announce that there will not be a Tour O The Borders event in 2024."

SBC added that it advised Hillside Outside to "avoid making any decision about the 2024 event" until after this year's Tour O The Borders in September.

"The implication was that if this year’s event was well received by participants, business and communities alike, this could present an opportunity to take forward the planning of the 2024 event," SBC's statement continues. "The council recognises the significance of this event and the positive economic impact that it can bring to the region.  

"SBC put forward a number of options in relation to the 2024 event and would be happy to continue to work with the organiser, but unfortunately they have opted to announce that there will not be a 2024 event well in advance of this year’s event on September 3 which is regrettable and in our view entirely avoidable."

Mr Dalgliesh said he believes that SBC "gave in" to requests for Touro to be relocated.

He added: "They [SBC] ignored our warnings that it’s just not as easy as that [to relocate], and (contrary to their statement) to date SBC still haven’t suggested a single viable alternative. As an option we offered to organise closed road events in locations of their choice, if they were willing to pay for it – but this was declined.

"So we were expected to move the event – to somewhere, anywhere, in the region – and take all the risk in doing so. Of course we’ve looked at dozens of possibilities. But when the stats clearly showed nowhere else in the Borders can accommodate enough riders to even make the event viable, we let SBC know immediately.

"It’s worth noting the road closures, police, emergency services, medics and everything else cost us, scarily, into six figures. Tour O The Borders has received no financial support from SBC since 2016.

"If SBC are now saying that an event in 2024, on either the 2022 or 2023 route, is a realistic option, that seems like a change of position and potentially great news – but that’s not ever been made clear to us."