By Mark Zalewski, North American Editor
The Tour of Missouri recently announced some highlights for its sophomore year on the North American racing calendar, including the return of defending champion George Hincapie, this time with his new High Road team.
"With my new team High Road, I will attend the Tour of Missouri this September to defend my championship," said Hincapie in a release. Hincapie won the inaugural race in 2007 as the last win for the Discovery Channel team.
"Being an Olympic year I plan on doing the Tour de France, the Olympics in Beijing, the U.S. Championships [in Greenville, South Carolina] and completing my season at the Tour of Missouri. For me, the race last year was special. The spectators and state were unbelievable. It was special as the last year with Discovery Channel team. I look forward to the race this year with my new team."
Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder, chairman of the race, started a small trend of race involvement amongst state seconds in command. This year the Tour de Georgia was championed by its Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle. "George Hincapie is a top world-class athlete and winner of last year's race," said Kinder in the release. He embellishes everything great about this statewide event. People will come in from around the country to see him and his team perform."
Another unique addition to the race from Kinder is the creation of a host city sign program in conjunction with the Missouri department of transportation (MODOT). "We have created a designated sign to provide demarcation with the help of MODOT for the 12 host cities. The cities have expressed support and pride in this program."
The program aligns with the stated goal of the race to promote tourism throughout the state. "This event is as much about tourism and economic impact as it is sport," said Kinder. "Our marketing programs are about promoting tourism within the context of the race.
The announcement of more teams participating in the race is expected in June.