The third edition of the Tour of Missouri has made significant course changes that include flipping the entire seven-stage event in the opposite direction. This year the race will take the peloton in a westward direction beginning in "the gateway to the west", also known as St. Louis, on September 7 and concluding in Kansas City on September 13.
Changing the direction of the race was the idea of the organizing committee of promoters Medallist Sports as a way to spread the race into alternate cities that have been waiting in line to host the start or the finish of a stage.
"We like to change things up," said Jim Birrell, race director.
"So there's no one reason why we flipped the race other than there were new areas of the state that we needed to hit, and it would've been difficult to get them in. We had a lot of interest from new parts of the state, and it ended up blending well and making a competitive seven days of racing in Missouri."
Instead of traveling from west to east as it has in the previous two editions, this year the race will travel from east to west. The most notable course change includes the stage five flat, 30-kilometre trial in Sedalia, which replaces the traditionally hillier course in Branson. "I think you'll see that of the three years, this will be the toughest course-wise and it will be interesting to see the accumulative (effects of the) climbing against the previous years. The overall composition is much tougher."
According to Birrell, the flat stage profiles are deceiving since the true terrain throughout the stage race is predominantly rolling. Although the stage race as a whole is likely suited to a sprinter and a time trial specialist, the undulating terrain will nonetheless prove a difficult undertaking.
"I think it will lend well to the sprinters and the time triallists," Birrell said. "It is certainly something a [Mark] Cavendish could win along with any of the defending champions from George [Hincapie] to Christian [Vande Velde]. I think it will lend (itself) more to a sprinter than a climber.
"I'm really pleased with the overall composition of this year's stages."