By Mark Zalewski, North American Editor
The Tour of Missouri announced its general routing for the 2009 edition. Once again the race will bisect the state between its two major cities – Kansas City and St. Louis from September 7-13. But unlike the previous two years the race will begin in St. Louis and head westward to a finish in Kansas City, anchored by a stop in the capital Jefferson City.
"We had a record amount of cities inquire about the Tour of Missouri," Lt. Governor Pete Kinder said in a release. "It is a testament to the success of the race. We faced a very difficult process of eliminating some great cities. Our commitment, however, is to continue to route the course to all areas of the state. This year, for the first time, we will visit the southeast part of Missouri while spending a longer time north of Interstate 70."
The overall picture of the race is quite mirror-like. Not only is it running from east to west, but also touching the southeast and northwest portions of the state. The biggest difference in this change will be to the individual time trial, which was previously hosted in Branson, in the hilliest part of the state. Last year's winner Christian Vande Velde commented that it was the most difficult time trial he had ever done.
We do not have a route solidified yet but we have narrowed it down," Chuck Hodge, the race's technical director told Cyclingnews. It will not be as difficult of course, as far as the terrain goes. I would like to go a little longer – it is something we are definitely looking at to compensate for the terrain."
However, not all will be easier in 2009, according to Hodge. "The first couple of road stages definitely have tougher terrain than we have had in the past!"
Another change is that the tour will be bookended by circuit races, both in St. Louis and Kansas City.
The following cities will play host to the Tour: St. Louis, St. Genevieve, Cape Girardeau, Farmington, Rolla, St. James, Jefferson City, Sedalia, Chillicothe, St. Joseph, and Kansas City.
"In keeping with tradition, we will change the course from year to year to keep it fresh," said Chris Aronhaltof Medalist Sports. "There will be new drama on the race route and we expect a few more hills. Overall, we have some great and very excited host cities."