Tour of Missouri welcomes Armstrong's Astana team

Tour of Missouri organisers announced yesterday that the team of Lance Armstrong, Astana, will race...

Tour of Missouri organisers announced yesterday that the team of Lance Armstrong, Astana, will race in their 2009 race, September 7 to 13.

"This is a big development for the Tour of Missouri," said Chris Aronhalt, the managing partner of event organiser Medalist Sports. "To have the participation of Astana is yet another huge step for this race."

The race held in Missouri, USA, is in its third year as a stage race. After the Tour of California, it is one of the USA's top multi-day events.

It will be Astana's first participation in the race. Its team manager, Johan Bruyneel, fielded his Discovery Channel in 2007 and won with American George Hincapie.

Earlier this month, the organisers announced the invitations of United States-based teams Garmin-Slipstream and Columbia-Highroad, Italy's Liquigas and the Switzerland's Cervélo TestTeam. Hincapie now races for Columbia and Garmin has 2008 winner Christian Vande Velde in its ranks.

The race will cover seven stages, around 970 kilometres. There will be two circuit races – one in St. Louis and one in 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 and Chillicothe to St. Joseph.

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