We all know the Tour of Missouri had some touch and go moments last summer when Missouri Governor Jay Nixon threatened to cut funding for the Tour of Missouri. Even now, with this world class cycling event creating new fans in the nation’s heartland, stoking interest, and drawing $30 million in spectator spending, the future of the Tour of Missouri is in doubt.
Some real superstars of professional cycling are taking part: not only stage winners Mark Cavendish (who, unfortunately, had to withdraw from the race due to illness) and Thor Hushovd, but a whole peloton of American pros like Christian Van De Velde, David Zabriskie, Danny Pate, Levi Leipheimer, Floyd Landis, George Hincapie are in the race. The Tour of Missouri also gives us Americans a close look at several pro European teams, and American (USA and Canadian) Continental Teams have their chance to prove their mettle.
Mary Sanchez makes an impassioned plea in the Kansas City Star that publicity from the Tour of Missouri “can’t be bought“, and more direct benefits like cycling photographer Jonathan Devich’s Missouri Humane Society fundraiser.
“We are bringing an international event to the back roads of Missouri,” says Chris Aronhalt of race organizer Medalist Sports. “From the lunch counters in Chillicothe to the town hall in Cape Girardeau, there’s no doubt there is excitement about this race.”
What do you think? Will there be a Tour of Missouri 2010?