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    Etape Caledonia up for an award

    Perthshire’s mass participation Etape Caledonia race has been shortlisted in the events and festivals category of the Scottish Thistle Awards, set to be held on Friday, October 29, at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre.

    Created by VisitScotland in 1992, the awards are designed to recognise and celebrate excellence in Scottishtourism.

    The Etape has caused controversy in the past and was subject to a high-profile act of sabotage two years ago when carpet tacks were spread along a section of the route.

    Meanwhile, some protesters have insisted the closed-roads event has left them unable to get to church on the Sunday in question, stripping them of their “right to worship.”

    However, it has proved to be hugely popular with cyclists and visitors alike, garnering an enviable worldwide reputation. It was shortlisted after judges concluded it had successfully established itself as an important event on the tourism calendar.

    They also took into account the large amount of media attention it generates, thereby helping VisitScotland and the sponsors to raise the profile of Scotland’s tourism industry.

    Jo Dytch of IMG, organisers of the Etape, said, “We are delighted that the Macmillan Cancer Support Etape Caledonia is a finalist for such a prestigious award. 

    “The event is now an important part of the growing events calendar in Highland Perthshire, allowing the area and its highlights to be showcased to a wide audience.

    “The economic benefits and significant funds raised for charity have grown annually. We look forward to the continued success of the event in years to come.”

    Councillor John Kellas, convener of Perth and Kinross Council’s enterprise and infrastructure committee, said, “As a council we are delighted that the Etape is up for this award.

    “The council has worked very hard alongside IMG for the last five years to establish the Etape Caledonia as a unique showcase event for cyclists across the UK and beyond. It is now one of the main fixtures in our events calendar and this year generated over £1m for the local economy.”

    Richard Pinn, VisitScotland’s regional director, said, “It takes a great deal of dedication, innovation and hard work to operate a successful event. The team behind Etape Caledonia clearly has these qualities in abundance.

    “We wish them all the best for the awards and indeed for the future.”