May 1, 2009 (Jefferson City, Mo.) – Following the announcement of No. 1-ranked Quickstep’s participation two weeks ago, the current world No. 2-ranked team, Saxo Bank of Denmark, has been announced for the third Tour of Missouri professional cycling race, scheduled for September 7-13, 2009.
The addition of the powerful Saxo Bank team, which is led by superstars Fabian Cancellara (Olympic and world champion time trialist) of Switzerland; brothers Frank and Andy Schleck (winner of last weekend’s Leige-Bastogne-Leige) of Luxembourg and Germany’s Jens Voigt, will mark the seventh entrant expected to line up at the 2009 Tour de France this summer. It will mark Saxo Bank’s first time racing at the Tour of Missouri.
“With the addition of Saxo Bank, this will be one of the best fields assembled on American soil,” said Jim Birrell, the event’s race director. “The stature of the event continues to grow, and the participation of Saxo Bank re-enforces how far the Tour of Missouri has matured in three short years. This is shaping up to be a special kind of race and we expect people from around the country to see the world’s best come to Missouri.”
Lt. Governor Peter Kinder said: “We have exceeded our expectations with the field of this race. No doubt this will translate directly into more spectators and more economic impact for the state and host cities.”
Saxo Bank joins one of the top fields assembled outside of Europe this season.
Previously announced are the world No. 1-ranked Quickstep of Belgium; top United States-based teams Garmin-Slipstream and world No. 5-ranked Columbia-High Road, as well as the world No. 3-ranked Cervelo Test Team, 2009 Tour de France favorite Astana, and one of Italy’s top pro tour teams Liquigas. Domestic-based Jelly Belly and recent Paris-Roubaix team entrant BMC Racing have also been announced.
Tour of Missouri has quickly grown in stature and quality each year, which is reflected in the quality of the teams and riders who will compete in the 2009 race,” said Sean Petty, the Chief Operating Officer for USA Cycling and a member of the UCI’s Road Commission. “Undoubtedly this has become one of the best races outside Europe in three short years. This directly correlates to the high level of marketing and management behind the event and the key support from the state.”
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.
A total of nine teams have been announced to date. A total of 15 teams will be slotted in for the September line up.
The race will be contested over seven days and seven stages. The overall mileage for the course is expected to be more than 600 miles. Though a stellar world-class field was presented last year, the three-year-old race is expected to be even better as the Tour of Missouri was granted an upgrade to one of the top five-ranked events outside Europe by international and national federation’s for cycling. The upgrade will guarantee more top teams. Additional teams will be announced in coming weeks.
American Christian Vande Velde won last year’s race, while countryman George Hincapie won the inaugural race in 2007.
The Tour of Missouri’s premier sponsors to date are Missouri Tourism, Missouri Farm Bureau of Jefferson City, Drury Hotels, Edward Jones and Wind Capital Management, all of St. Louis.
For more information: www.tourofmissouri.com.