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Friday, September 11, 2009
  Tour of Missouri: Zabriskie takes the lead
By Yokota Fritz 

Current Standings Here

0615_Zebriskie_1st_St5_TT_PhSpt_sm
David Zabriskie sets flying time trial to win stage and yellow jersey
Photo by John Pierce - Photosport International

SEDALIA, MO − (September 11, 2009) - The Individual Time Trial at the Missouri State Fairgrounds proved to be a playground for four-time U.S. Pro ITT champion David Zabriskie today, winning by 30 seconds over Sweden's Gustav Larsson (Saxo Bank). American Tom Zirbel (Bissell Pro Cycling) finished third, 44 seconds behind Zabriskie. The Tour of Missouri win at Stage 5, presented by Missouri's Electric Cooperatives, propels the Garmin-Slipstream rider into the Missouri Tourism Leader's Jersey heading into the final weekend.

"I looked at the first 3k and the last 3k (in preparation). The rest was pretty straightforward and not too technical. I was able to hold speed on the rollers and the last part was probably the hardest with the wind," said Zabriskie, a Salt Lake City, Utah, resident, who finished in a time of 36 minutes, 30.49 seconds. "We have two days left here and I we know what we have to do. I think the team is very strong and we'll be able to do it (in Kansas City)."

Today's Stage 5, presented by Missouri's Electric Cooperatives, featured a new course for the "race of truth", a discipline won last year by Tour of Missouri champion Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Slipstream). The field of 115 pro riders departed one by one in reverse order of the general classification in one-minute intervals, with the Top 10 rolling down the start ramp at the Centennial Gate of the fairgrounds complex in two-minute intervals. Riders completed a total distance of 19-miles (30.6 km), racing the clock across the Pettis County farmland and then fighting a headwind back into Sedalia to the fairgrounds.

Zirbel, set the best time of the day among the first 45 riders. Then Zabriskie, who was sitting in 56th place in the general classification, destroyed the course and kept the top spot for the rest of the afternoon. Larsson, the silver medalist at the ITT in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, made a run at Zabriskie's time, but had challenges with a strong wind and slow-moving motorbikes on the course in the final three kilometers to take second. Italian Marco Pinotti (Columbia-HTC) narrowly missed the podium, finishing one second behind Zirbel in fourth.

"I tried to take it out a little bit harder the first half. I felt really strong about the second half. All week I've been excited about the time trial," added Zirbel, who has finished second at the USA Cycling Pro ITT Championships in Greenville, S.C. the past two years. "The two who beat me (today) are some of the best in the world and I can't be too disappointed."

Zabriskie is now the fourth rider in five days to have worn the Missouri Tourism Leader's Jersey. Larsson, Zirbel and Pinotti are behind Zabriskie in the G.C. as well, and with a 5th place finish in the ITT, Levi Leipheimer (Astana) moves from 41st to 6th overall in the G.C. Three teams, Saxo Bank, Bissell and Astana, each have two riders in the Top 10. 2007 Tour of Missouri champion George Hincapie (Columbia-HTC) sits in 29th position, 2'17" behind the race leader. Also back in the field are two riders who once adorned the yellow leader's jersey, Thor Hushovd (Cervelo Test Team) in 60th place, 3'45" back, and J.J. Haedo (Saxo Bank) in 77th place, 4'56" back.

Hushovd will return in Stage 6 to wear the Edward Jones Sprint jersey. Dario Cataldo (QuickStep) continues to wear the 180 Energy/Icelandic Glacial Water Best Young Rider jersey and Moises Aldape (Team Type I) of Mexico continues to sport the Michelob Ultra KOM jersey. The Drury Hotels Most Aggressive Rider jersey was not part of the ITT ceremonies today, but will return for Stage 6.

Stage 6, presented by Wind Capital Group, will begin at 1:00 pm in Chillicothe. The road race features two Edward Jones Sprint lines (Gallatin and Savannah) and one Michelob Ultra KOM just outside the city limits of St. Joseph, the host finish city. The peloton will pass the Bluegrass Ridge Wind Farm, with its 27 turbines in Gentry County that stand majestically a few miles past the Feed Zone.

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Thursday, September 10, 2009
  Is the Tour of Missouri good for Missouri?
By Yokota Fritz 
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.

Tour of Missouri kicks off with Stage 1 in St. Louis


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.

Tour of Missouri kicks off with Stage 1 in St. Louis


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?

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Wednesday, September 09, 2009
  Tour of Missouri Stage 3 recap
By Yokota Fritz 
Universal has their stage 3 video here, in which Paul Sherwen and Frankie "Andrew" (snark) recap Stage 3 from . Supposedly I could embed the video but I couldn't find the embed code. Oh well.

I normally use PicApp for editorial photos but they're slow on the uptake with Tour of Missouri photos, so I'll just post this one from yesterday where Mark Cavendish gets a smooch from those Midwestern podium gals.

Tour of Missouri kicks off with Stage 1 in St. Louis


If you're posting photos to Flickr or other photo sharing, feel free to let me know about them so I can point some traffic your way.

Links out to Tour of Missouri Stage 3 news and commentary:

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