Jefferson, MO -- Event organizers announced yesterday the host cities and overall course for the 2009 Tour of Missouri yesterday.
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).
"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."
Added Team Columbias Mark Cavendish of Britain, who won three stages of the 2008 Tour of Missouri: "Last years race was very well organized and promoted. I really liked it. As a sprinter, I had several opportunities to win races, which is always good. With more hills expected, well see what happens."
Tour of Qatar
The 8th Tour of Qatar runs from Sunday February 1 to Friday February 6. Amazingly, race organizers added a professional women's race that begins February 8, with 90 riders from 14 countries reportedly participating. Even more amazing: "We hope to gradually develop women's sport in Qatar," said Sheikh Khalid Bin Ali Abdulla al-Thani, head of the Qatari cycling federation. Read more.
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Regarding the Women's Tour of Qatar: where's my Women's Tour of California?!