Posted by Editoress on 08/1/09
Planet Energy Rounds Out Roster
Tour of Missouri organisers announced the Canadian team Planet Energy as the 15th and final squad for the September race this week.
The team will join ProTour teams Astana, Columbia-HTC, Garmin-Slipstream, Liquigas, Quick Step and Saxo Bank and Professional Continental teams Cervelo TestTeam and BMC. Domestic teams include Jelly Belly, OUCH presented by Maxxis, BissellPro Cycling Team, Colavita / Sutter Home presented by Cooking Light, Kelly Benefit Strategies and Team Type 1. BMC Racing, which is a Swiss and American based team, rounds out the field.
"Just as we have a commitment to top American teams, we have always tried to include a top North American-based continental team in this race to support the goals of the UCI," said Chris Aronhalt, managing partner of Medalist Sports, the tour's organizer. "Planet Energy is one of the top teams outside the U.S. in this hemisphere, and we are glad to reach an agreement to include them."
The 2009 Tour of Missouri begins September 7 in St. Louis and finishes a week later in Kansas City. The seven-stage race was won last year by Garmin-Slipstream's Christian Vande Velde.
Tour Of Missouri Announces Individual Stage Courses
A stage-by-stage synopsis of the seven -day, 612-mile Tour of Missouri has been announced by race organizers and Missouri Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder today.
"We definitely have some surprises in this year's version of the Tour of Missouri," said Jim Birrell, the race's director. "Missouri is a very deceiving state topographically. Because of the many rivers, the terrain is full of short steep hills. And, the Ozarks are filled with non-stop climbs. It will take a strong man to win this race again."
The race begins in St. Louis on Monday, September 7, Labor Day, with a 10-lap, 75-mile circuit race that will be fast and flat and favor a sprinter taking the leader's jersey. On Tuesday, September 8, the race will transfer south to Ste. Genevieve with a 112.4-mile road race to Cape Girardeau. The terrain is hilly to moderate and features finishing circuits.
On Wednesday, September 9, cyclists will face their toughest challenge of the race, with a hilly 114.3-mile stage in the Northern Ozark Mountains from Farmington to Rolla. After a short transfer on Thursday, September 10, the race will proceed from St. James to Jefferson City, with the circuit finish featuring a steep 300-meter uphill sprint to the finish.
Riders will be able make up time Friday, September 11,during the individual time trial at Sedalia with an 18-mile race against the clock around Missouri's State Fairgrounds. On Saturday, September 12, cyclists will race from Chillicothe to St. Joseph while hitting moderate to hilly terrain.
The weeklong journey through the Show-Me-State concludes with a hilly circuit through the streets of Kansas City. The Kansas City circuit will feature two king of the mountain points with more than 3000 feet of climbing over 72 miles. "I think they did a great job of capturing the challenging terrain of the state," said Rory Sutherland, the current national race calendar leader in the United States and a rider in the past two Tours of Missouri.
Added 2007 race-champion George Hincapie of Columbia-HTC: "From what I know, there are a couple stages that will be very tough. And, with the time trial, and the hilly circuit race at the finish, it could add drama all the way till the end."
Hincapie also added that the wind and undulating terrain play a role in making it difficult for a team to control the race, saying Alpine passes are not always needed to make a race tough.
"We have a top-notch world-class field that I'm sure will make this a great race," said Birrell. " It is a tough race, evidenced by the fact that two of the world's top cyclists have won the past two years (Hincapie, 2007; Christian Vande Velde, 2008.)
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 last month.
The upgrade has drawn top pro tour teams Astana, Cervelo Test Team, Columbia- HTC, Garmin- Slipstream, Liquigas, Saxo Bank and Quickstep, all recent Tour de France teams, of which won 14 of 21 stages of the world's biggest race.
Domestic teams participating in 2009 include BISSELL Pro Cycling Team, BMC Racing, Colavita / Sutter Home presented by Cooking Light, Jelly Belly, Kelly Benefit Strategies, OUCH presented by Maxxis, and Team Type 1. Canada's top team Planet Energy rounds out the field.
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).
Team rosters will be announced in late August. The race is sanctioned by USA Cycling and UCI, the international governing body for the sport.
Stage 1: St. Louis (Circuit Race)
Stage 2: Ste. Genevieve
Stage 3: Farmington
Stage 4: St. James
Stage 5: Sedalia (Individual Time Trial)
Stage 6: Chillicothe
Stage 7: Kansas City (Circuit Race)
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