June 23, 2008 (St. Louis, Missouri) – A ‘deceivingly tougher’ Tour of Missouri will challenge the field of 120 world class cyclists from 15 elite professional teams when they line up for the September 8th – 14th Tour of Missouri, race organizers announced today in the overall race finish city St. Louis. Each of the seven courses for the week-long event were announced by Missouri Lt. Governor Peter Kinder, race director Jim Birrell and two time stage winner Ivan Dominguez of the U.S.’s top domestic squad Toyota United Pro Cycling Team.
“Again, the great state of Missouri will play host to these world class athletes from more than 20 countries this September,” said Lt. Governor Kinder. “This year, we’ve worked to make the course more challenging and with a few new twists, including new terrain, new cities, homage to our Armed Forces on September 11th and another grand finale in St. Louis.”
Stage 1 – Monday, September 8 / St. Joseph to Kansas City / 90miles / road race / Start: 12:30 pm – Est. finish: 4:30 pm
The city of St. Joseph will play host to a Tour stage for the first time, as the race kicks off in front of City Hall, and only 100 yards away from a monument to the Pony Express. Riders on two wheels, rather than four legs, will exit town on a picturesque parkway before feasting on the first Mich ULTRA King of the Mountain competition less than 20 miles into the overall race. The first 50 plus miles feature a series of relentless small, un-categorized climbs, some of which form a panoramic view of the Missouri River. This differs from the relatively flat out-and-back course featured on the course last year for Stage 1. The first points toward the Edward Jones Sprint Jersey will be up for grabs in Platte City and Parkville en route to the final three circuits around the Country Club Plaza District and Ward Parkway in Kansas City. In a wrinkle different from last year, the circuits in Kansas City will be reversed and feature a 300 meter climb to a Mich ULTRA KOM point. The finish will be fast and furious with cyclists descending at about 45 miles per hour before winding up for the flat sprint ending near last year’s finish.
Stage 2 – Tuesday, September 9 / Clinton to Springfield / 126miles / road race / Start: 11:00 am – Est. finish: 4:15 pm
The longest stage of this year’s race, this course is a remake of last year’s decisive stage of the inaugural Tour of Missouri. The stage starts in historic Clinton, near the head of the state-long Katy Trail, and winds through flat, pastoral regions of western Missouri en route to the finish in Springfield. Last year, spectators witnessed George Hincapie steal the stage and essentially the overall race during this flat stage. The race features three water ways. Edward Jones sprint points are featured in the towns of Stockton and Willard en route to three finish circuits around the downtown of Missouri’s third largest city. There are no KOM points on this stage.
Stage 3 – Wednesday, September 10 / Branson / 18 miles / individual time trial / First cyclist: 11:00 am – Finish: 2:00 pm
Another remake of a 2007 course, many teams have already cited this stage as the most pivotal toward the overall win. Starting at The Landing, a new development on Lake Taneycomo off downtown Branson, cyclists will be challenged by what 2007 overall race champion George Hincapie called “the hardest time trial course” he’d ever ridden. In reversed order of their placing, cyclists will go off the start ramp in intervals of one minute each until the final 10, which will go off at two minute intervals. The course features the rich hill terrain around Missouri’s national tourist hot spot. It is an 18 mile grind over three climbs, the last being a two and a half mile haul up to Shepherd of the Hills Homestead and Outdoor Center, the location where tourism in the Ozarks was started in 1907. It was also made famous by the book and movie by the same title. The movie starred John Wayne.
Stage 4 – Thursday, September 11 / Lebanon to Rolla / 95 miles / road race / Start: 11:00 am – Est. finish: 3:00 pm
Playing host to a start for the second consecutive year, Stage 4 starts in the south-central agricultural hub city of Lebanon. The AllAmerican city is an appropriate place to start on September 11, as race organizers have special plans to route through Fort Leonard Wood Military Reservation as a tribute to U.S. Armed Forces. Edward Jones sprint lines will be contested at Fort Leonard Wood and Richland en route to a finish adjacent to the campus of the University of MissouriRolla. The race also will feature long stretches in the Mark Twain National Forest and three Mich ULTRA KOMs, with perhaps the toughest climb, a nasty 12percent halfmile climb outside of Waynesville. The route also tracks on and off the famous Route 66. Touted as ‘deceivingly tough”, this may be the surprise stage of the race, according to race organizers.
Stage 5 – Friday, September 12 / St. James to Jefferson City / 108 miles / road race / Start: 2:00 pm – Est. finish: 6:30 pm
The quaint wine country town of St. James will play host for the first time to a stage of the Tour. The 2 p.m. send off is the latest start of this year’s tour and route to Missouri’s capital city of Jefferson City for a late finish under the shadows of the Capitol’s dome. Jefferson City was a start city in the 2007 race. Now in the limelight as a prime time finish, the hilly streets of the capital city will undoubtedly put pain into riders leg as the last 300 meters of the race finish uphill, which could produce time gaps between leaders of the stage. The race will feature one Mich ULTRA KOM point, and Edward Jones sprint points in the towns of Bland and Vienna. “A never ending series of small hills,” is how one course director describes this stage.
Stage 6 – Saturday, September 13 / Hermann to St. Charles / 96 miles / road race / Start: 12:30 pm – Est. finish: 4:15 pmStarting in the Bavarian town of Hermann, which hosted a sprint line last year, cyclist will race along Highways 100 and 94, rolling through a series of three Mich ULTRA KOM points, in one of the most rugged stretches of the overall race. During this race, cyclists will face two 1.2 kilometer (or about 1,400 yards) steep climbs on Old Colony and Schluersburg Roads. Edward Jones sprint lines will be featured in the towns of Augusta and O’Fallon. The race will finish on the banks of the Mississippi River in historic St. Charles, coming in from the north this year.
Stage 7 – Sunday, September 14 / St. Louis / 70 miles circuit / Start: 2 pm – Est. finish: 4:50 pm
The grand finale of the 2008 Tour will again finish with a circuit race in St. Louis, Missouri’s largest metropolis and one of America’s great sports cities. The start and finish line will move from Union Station to Tucker and Market in front of St. Louis’s City Hall. That is not the only change. This year’s course will route five times and encompass a large part of Forest Park, routing on Lagoon and Government Drives within the Park, and past the Museum, before returning through the Central West End.
– Dates: September 8-14, 2008
– Estimated Total Miles: 600
– Number of Teams: 15 (elite, pro)
– Teams Announced: High Road and Toyota United (13 others will be announced in July)
– Total Cyclists per team: 8
– Number of cyclists: 120
– Ranking: 2.1 (3rd highest, N.A.)
– National Television: Versus
– Regional Television: under negotiation
– 2007 Champion: George Hincapie, Team Discovery, U.S.A.
– Sanctioning: International Cycling Union, USA Cycling
– Presenting Partners: Missouri Division of Tourism
– Gold Medal Sponsors: Anheuser Busch, Drury Hotels, Edward Jones, Emerson, Farm Bureau, Monsanto (two to be announced)
– Event Management & Marketing: Medalist Sports, Tyrone, Ga.? KOM Sports, Colorado Springs
– More Information – www.tourofmissouri.com