The US will add another high-profile stage race to its calendar this year with the Tour of Missouri, a UCI 2.1 event, which will take place from September 11-16. The route, which will cover more than 600 miles of the 'Show Me State', was announced today by state and local officials and race organisers who are eager to show the state to the world. "The Tour of Missouri is an exciting way to showcase the beauty of our state," said Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder. "I believe this race will capture the imagination of the entire State of Missouri."
In its first year, the Tour of Missouri already is slated to be one North America's top three professional cycling stage races, behind the Tours of California and Georgia. "To have this race in my home state is unbelievable," said Dan Schmatz, who rides for the BMC professional cycling team, and is originally from St. Louis. "It will be unique to race on roads that I have trained on. I think Missouri will be surprised by what they will see. We're looking to put on a real-good show."
The cross-state journey will start in Kansas City and finish in Missouri's largest city, St. Louis, in the shadows of the famous arch. "Missouri is an absolutely beautiful state for a professional cycling race of this nature. It has rich and varied terrain. I think cyclists will be surprised by the amount of hills in the state," said Jim Birrell, the race's director and managing partner of Medalist Sports, who also manage the Amgen Tour of California and Tour de Georgia.
"The enthusiasm from state leaders in Jefferson City, to the civic leaders in the communities hosting this event, to the sports enthusiasts in Missouri really has been overwhelming. There already is a great grass roots buzz about this event. The event shows great promise and hasn't even started yet."
Stages of the Tour of Missouri
Stage 1: Kansas City - Kansas City
Stage 2: Clinton - Springfield
Stage 3: Branson (individual time trial)
Stage 4: Lebanon - Columbia
Stage 5: Jefferson City - St. Charles
Stage 6: St. Louis (circuit race)