Like Steephill mentioned in a recent comment here, there's a big bike race going on right now in the United States -- the 2008 Tour of Missouri started today in St. Joseph, MO. After the 90 mile race to Kansas City, Mark Cavendish of Team Columbia took Stage 1 after surging past the peloton for the win.
"I was just there. I was on George's (Hincapie) wheel and Toyota (United) got the jump in the last kilometer," said Cavendish. "Tyler (Farrar) jumped at 200 meters and I just slotted on his wheel and that gave me an extra two seconds rest. It was just a case of kicking past him and crossing the line."
While Cavendish is also the Edward Jones Sprint Leader, the sprint jersey will be worn by Farrar, currently second in sprint points. Cavendish also leads the THF Realty Young Rider competition; however the jersey will be worn by Micheal Van Stayen (NED) of Rabobank. Dominique Rollin of Toyota United Pro Cycling will wear the Michelob Ultra KOM jersey. Kohler (BMC) was awarded the Drury Hotels Aggressive Rider Jersey.
"It's a great race," said Farrar. ""It's really cool to see cities getting behind it so quickly. Every time we went through a town, we saw people out on the roads cheering. It looks like the event has a bright future."
While the men were rolling south from St. Joseph, a group of some of the world's top women cyclists competed before enthusiastic crowds in downtown Kansas City at the first Tour of Missouri Women's criterium. The current U.S. Road and Criterium champion Brooke Miller of Team Tibco took the win over Jen McRae of Advil-Chapstick. Rounding out the podium was Erica Allar from Aarons.
Stage Two, the Tour's longest (126.3 mi./203.3 km), will begin in historic Clinton, Mo. at 11:00 a.m. Clinton is the terminus of the Katy Trail, a 225 mile (365 km) bike path stretching across Missouri. Over half of the trail follows Lewis and Clark's path up the Missouri River. From there, cyclists will battle on the flat pastoral lands of western Missouri and earn Edward Jones Sprint Line points in the towns Stockton and Willard before finishing in Springfield. The race is expected to finish between 3:35-4:50 p.m.