January 28/09 10:00 am - Tour of Missouri Announces 2009 Host Cities
Posted by Editor on 01/28/09
Event organizers and Missouri Lt. Governor Peter Kinder announced today the start and finish host cities and the overall course for the third Tour of Missouri professional cycling race, scheduled for September 7-13, 2009.
The following cities will play host to a leg of the Tour: St. Louis, Ste. Genevieve, Cape Girardeau, Farmington, Rolla, St. James, Jefferson City, Sedalia, Chillicothe, St. Joseph, and Kansas City.
"We had a record amount of cities inquire about the Tour of Missouri," said Lt. Governor Kinder. "It is a testament to the success of the race. We faced a very difficult process of eliminating some great cities. Our commitment, however, is to continue to route the course to all areas of the state. This year, for the first time, we will visit the southeast part of Missouri while spending a longer time north of Interstate 70. In addition, we will be able to highlight some of the agricultural regions."
The overall course will take on a very different slant in 2009. For the first time, the race will route east to west, starting in St. Louis and finishing in Kansas City. The past two years, the race routed west to east starting in Kansas City to finish in St. Louis. Stage by stage courses will be announced at a later date.
"In keeping with tradition, we will change the course from year to year to keep it fresh," said Chris Aronhalt, the managing partner of event organizers Medalist Sports of the Atlanta area. "There will be new drama on the race route and we expect a few more hills. Overall, we have some great and very excited host cities."
The race will be contested over seven days and seven stages. There will be two circuit races (St. Louis, Kansas City), one individual time trial (Sedalia), and four point to point road races (Ste. Genevieve to Cape Girardeau; Farmington to Rolla; St. James to Jefferson City; Chillicothe to St. Joseph). The overall mileage for the course is expected to be more than 600 miles.
"I like what they've done," said 2008 Tour of Missouri champion Christian Vande Velde, an American who also finished fourth overall at last years Tour de France. "Its a totally different race course and it looks like theyve added some challenging terrain. Last years race was very fast and tougher than it looked on paper. I look forward to coming back with my Garmin teammates to defend my title."
Though a stellar world-class field was presented last year, the three-year-old race is expected to be event better as the Tour of Missouri was granted an upgrade to one of the top five-ranked events outside Europe by international and national federation's for cycling last month. The upgrade will likely draw more pro tour teams to the event, which featured three last year in Garmin, Columbia and Liquigas.
Also announced was a partnership between the Tour of Missouri and The Gateway Cup in St. Louis, the largest amateur cycling event for road cycling in the country. The Gateway Cup will feature four days of racing by more than 1,100 competitive amateur cyclists. These four days of racing will lead into the Tour of Missouri women's professional criterium, and culminate with the professional men's event.
Last year, the event drew more than 435,000 spectators over seven days. Missouri Tourism noted an direct and indirect economic impact of almost 30 million to the state. The event is sanctioned by USA Cycling, the national federation for cycling in the United States, and the Union Cycliste Internationale, the international governing body for the sport of cycling.