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Welcome to Cyclingnews' live coverage of stage seven of the Tour of Missouri. Today's final stage is a circuit race in Kansas City, Missouri. It will run seven laps of a 10.2-mile circuit. Please note that we no longer have a commentator email, but we still want to hear from you. You can post feedback in our forum at http://forum.cyclingnews.com/showthread.php?t=3398.
Today's stage will start at 2:00 pm local time (CDT). It's another warm day her in Missouri. There are scattered clouds, but it's mostly sunny and in the mid-80s (Fahrenheit). There is a slight breeze. Heavy crowds are amassing at the start / finish area.
Going into the final stage of today's race, Dave Zabriskie (Garmin Slipstream) leads. He's got a margin of 30 seconds over runner-up Gustav Larsson (Saxo Bank) and 44 seconds over Tom Zirbel (Bissell). Marco Pinotti (Columbia-HTC) is not much further back; he's one second behind Zirbel and will be looking to bump the Bissell rider from the podium. Dario Cataldo (Quick Step), who is also the best young rider in this race, is sitting in fifth at 1:02.
The racers have been warned that they have just three more minutes to sign in. Then it's time to start staging.
George Hincapie (Columbia-HTC) gets a big round of applause as he rolls to the start line. He's sure been easy to pick out in his stars and stripes jersey since he won it a few weeks ago in Greenville, South Carolina. Hincapie is the US pro road champion.
Race leader Dave Zabriskie gets some love from the announcers as he is called. He's all decked out in yellow, a color he's like to keep until the end of today's stage. The rest of the riders are summoned forward.
One of the reasons that this year's race switched directions from east to west was so that Kansas City could host a stage on the weekend. In the past two years, the opening Kansas City stage was on a Monday, and now it's the city's turn for the weekend slot.
We've heard that the Kansas City football team is out of town, so the Tour of Missouri is the biggest show in town this weekend.
The riders are warned: three minutes to start. All hte cameramen are making their way out of the way from the area in front of the racers.
One minute until start.
The racers have started! There is no neutral today, so we expect a fast pace from the gun. There are lots of people watching all along the sides of the road.
Andrew Guptill (Colavita/Sutter Home Presented By Cooking Light ) has a mechanical. He'll get a front wheel switch.
Bernhard Eisel (Team Columbia-HTC) and Yaroslav Popovych (Astana) have an early go at things as the first attack of the day.
Those two are brought back into the peloton.
Two more racers attack and another tries to chase them. They are on wide, open roads - with plenty of space to pass each other and be passed.
Chris Anker Sorensen (Team Saxo Bank), Jeffry Louder (BMC Racing Team), and Moises Aldape Chavez (Team Type 1) are off the front together - about 10 seconds in front of the field.
It's a very urban circuit, but there are parks and fountains, too.
We've just heard that our sprint leader Thor Hushovd (Cervelo Test Team) needs service. As he gets a mechanical taken care of Chris Sorenson (Saxo Bank) and KOM leader Moises Aldape (Teamt Type 1) gain time on the field.
The field is back together. But, unfortunately we lost one of our favourite riders Will Frischkorn (Garmin-Slipstream) who has abandoned the race. That will certainly be a big loss for the teams defense of the yellow jersey being worn by Dave Zabriskie.
A BMC rider has made a move. We are hearing that the road surface is very rough out there. Let's hope everyone holds air in their tires today. After yesterday's average speed of 50 km/h it will be very hard to get back in the field after any sort of mechanical.
Here we go...1 km to the first intermediate sprint. The God of Thunder, Thor Hushovd will want to get as many points as possible early on to solidify his hold on the Tour of Missouri green sprint jersey.
It looks like it was non other than the Italian Marco Pinotti (Columbia-HTC) who stole that intermediate sprint. He was looking for a one second time bonus to move into third place overall ahead of Tom Zirbel (Bissell). Who knew Pinotti could sprint!
Results of the first sprint are as follows
Ben Jacques-Maynes (Bissell)
According to Cyclingnews' Peter Hymas who is riding in the media car, the crowds are huge through the start-finish line. All he can hear are the cow bells. It is a very fast finishing straightaway one that would require a 55 tooth chainring for the sprinters. For those who are not well versed in chain ring sizes--that's big!
Lars Bak (Saxo Bank) and Will Routley (Jelly Belly) are off the front. They are passing through the first climb on the circuit located 3kms in to the lap. The field will see the first KOM on the next time through. That hill passes through Penn Valley Park.
Lars Bak and Will Routley are joined by two more riders. Those new escapees are Steve Morabito (Astana) and Frank Mathias (BMC). The four riders have a 15-second lead.
Two riders have dropped out of the break. They are Morabito and Routley. As they drop back Darren Lill (Team Type 1) bridge across. The break now contains Lill, Bak and Mathias.
The field is seeing 5 kms to the first KOM of the day at the top of Kessler Road.
Andy Jacques-Maynes (Bissell) is making use of the medical car. We are not sure what has happened to him but we hope that he is OK. As he receives help from medical, another rider Yaroslav Popovych (Astana) has abandoned the race.
Michael Rogers (Columbia-HTC) has a flat tire. He will be playing a key role in helping his teammate Marco Pinotti move up further in the overall classification. As a three time world time trial champion, Rogers should have no trouble catching back up to the peloton.
There are three chasers 15 seconds off the back of our three leaders. We will have those names for you shortly. In the mean time the field has passed through the first KOM on Kessler Road won by breakaway rider Lars Bak.
Results for the first KOM were:
#1 Lars Bak (Saxo Bank)
#2 Frank Mathias (BMC)
#3 Darren Lill (Team Type 1)
#4 Moises Aldape (Team Type 1)
#5 Matt Wilson (Team Type 1)
The field has come together after the first KOM and Team Type was is gearing up for the second and more decisive KOM on Summit St. This climb is also known as the 'Mini Manayunk', for its similarities to the famed Manayunk Wall climb in the TD Bank International Cycling Championships held in June in Philadelphia.
Results of the second KOM were:
#1 Moises Aldape (Team Type 1)
#2 Darren Lill (Team Type 1)
#3 Chris Sorensen (Saxo Bank)
#4 Lars Bak (Saxo Bank)
#5 Levi Leipheimer (Astana)
As shown in the KOM results, there is a very big battle for the KOM jersey currently worn by Moises Aldape and runner up Chris Sorensen. Aldape has proven to be quite the climber here at the Tour of Missouri.
There are three riders in the lead. Gregory Rast (Astana), Chris Jones (Team Type 1) and Nicki Sorensen (Saxo Bank). The have a 35-second lead as the peloton sees four laps to go.
Garmin takes the front of the field in defense of the yellow jersey currently worn by Dave Zabriskie. They are pulling the field along by their chins at a blistering speed of 45 km/h. Should Zabriskie hold onto the yellow jersey after today's stage it will mark his first ever victory in a stage race.
Astana just lost another strongman in Thomas Vaitkus who has just abandoned the race. This circuit race must be a tough one to handle at the end of a week-long stage race.
The Tour of Missouri stage seven host Kansas City has traditionally been the start of the seven-stage race in the last two years. It is now the finale. The start and finish used to be located along the Mississippi River in the down town area. Now, it is Crown Centre of Kansas City, an area that has gone through a 5 million dollar revitalization. It is being transformed into trendy cosmopolitan hotspot with new loft apartments, jazz bars and restaurants.
We have two Saxo Bank riders that have joined the break Chris Sorensen and Jason McCartney. That makes three Saxo Bank riders with Nicki Sorensen who was already up front with Chris Jones (Team Type 1) and Gregory Rast (Astana). The five riders have a 10-second advantage as they cross through the finish line seeing three laps to go.
Saxo Bank is not just going to let Garmin-Slipstream roll away with the yellow jersey. They are clearly going to go down fighting. The race is on in Kansas City today!
Brad White (OUCH p/b Maxxis) has a rear flat. White enjoyed some podium time when he won the Most Aggressive Rider jersey after his breakaway in stage four riding into Jefferson City.
Bernard Eisel (Columbia-HTC) grabs a new bike through the start finish. Looks like he and White will work together to get back in the bunch after their respective mechanicals.
The results of the second sprint were:
#1 Jason McCartney (Saxo Bank)
#2 Nicki Sorensen (Saxo Bank)
#3 Chris Jones (Team Type 1)
The breakaway of five riders is approaching the climb up to Kessler Rd. There are no points this lap and it looks as though, runner up in the KOM competition Chris Sorensen is licking his lips at the onset of the next set of KOM points located on the next lap. His teammates are working hard to ensure that breakaway stays away so that he can collect more points. By doing so they are also killing two birds with one stone, ensuring that Garmin-Slipstream is working hard back in the bunch and that their own overall contender Gustav Larsson is fresh.
Michael Barry (Columbia-HTC) has broken away from the field and is chasing the breakaway of five riders. He passes one of the new loft apartments we mention earlier. Now there is large party happening on top of one of the rooftops. According to Cyclingnews' Peter Hymas there is a very inspired male dancer breaking out his disco moves at the Kessler Rd KOM line.
Michael Barry has successfully joined the breakaway. He will offers some undisputed horsepower as the sixth rider. Barry took a solo win on the streets of Rolla in last year's Tour of Missouri.
Just to refresh your memory, the six breakaway riders include Chris Sorensen, Nicki Sorensen and Jason McCartney (all Saxo Bank), Chris Jones (Team Type 1), Gregory Rast (Astana) and Michael Barry (Columbia-HTC).
Let us not forget that this is a KOM lap. The breakaway will pass two KOM's, the first on Kessler Rd and the second on Summit St. Runner up, Chris Sorensen will be looking to pick up full points this lap. However, Chris Jones is well-known for his climbing skills and will no doubt try to take those points away for his teammate and polka-dot jersey leader Aldape is back in the bunch and unable to contest for the points.
The peloton has passed through the finish line. They will start their sixth lap, two laps to go. The wind is blowing much stronger now and the peloton is snaking along the straightaways.
Results of KOM #4 were
#1 Chris Jones (Team Type 1)
#2 Chris Sorensen (Saxo Bank)
#3 Greg Rast (Astana)
#4 Jason McCartney (Saxo Bank)
#5 Michael barry (Columbia-HTC)
We have word that Saxo Bank's sprinter Juan Jose Haedo has abandoned the race. Haedo won stage four in Jefferson City two days ago. There is still one more Haedo in the peloton, his younger brother Sebastian who races for the Colavita-Sutter Home team, who will be looking for a stage win.
Results of KOM #4 were
#1 Michael Barry (Columbia-HTC)
#2 Jason McCartney (Saxo Bank)
#3 Chris Sorensen (Saxo Bank)
#4 Nicki Sorensen (Saxo Bank)
#5 Greg Rast (Astana)
The breakaway is starting to dismantle. Gregory Rast (Astana) has gone back to the peloton. Riders Nicki Sorensen and Chris Jones are falling off pace.
The riders are seeing just over one lap to go. Race leader Zabriskie has lost two more teammates in Mike Friedman and Jason Donald. He is now relying on the help from remaining riders Steven Cozza and Timmy Duggan to keep him in the yellow jersey.
The breakaway has passed through the finish line and they are rounding their last lap. Michael Barry (Columbia-HTC) is feeling fresh today and attacks the break. He is alone and on the hunt for a stage win.
Saxo Bank duo Chris Sorensen and Jason McCartney work hard to bring Barry back. They are all back together, looking at one another for the next move. The peloton is 25 seconds behind. The break is going to have to work together if they want to stay away from the field. There are still several key sprinters who would love to have at a finale stage win today.
Jason McCartney (Saxo Bank) and Michael Barry (Columbia-HTC) have snapped away from the breakaway. They look back and see that they have a very big gap on the others.
The remnants of the breakaway have been caught by the peloton. Barry and McCartney are struggling to hold a small gap on the field.
Will Routley (Jelly Belly) has managed to get away from the peloton and bridge across to Barry and McCartney.
The three riders look back and give in to the peloton baring down the road behind them. They are half way around the final lap and BIG GEORGE HINCAPIE attacks!
Tour of Missouri KOM leader Moises Aldape (Team Type 1) drags the peloton over the climb and Hincapie rejoins the field.
Columbia and Cervelo are on the front ad the speeds are reaching as high as 56 km/h. Can anyone break away from these speeds?
Michael Rogers (Columbia-HTC) can! He is alone on the front and heading through the final turns toward the finish line.
We just heard that Michael Barry (Columbia-HTC) earned himself the Most Aggressive Rider's jersey today.
Rogers is holding a 10-second gap on the field. The yellow jersey Dave Zabriskie (Garmin) is sitting safely in fifth wheel back in the bunch.
Rogers' tongue is hanging out of his mouth as he desperately tries to hold onto his lead. He placed 2nd overall in last year's Tour of Missouri and does not want to walkaway empty handed this year.
Rogers has been joined by one rider but it looks like it will be a field sprint as the peloton is very close behind
French Canadian Marin Gilbert (Planet Energy) takes the finale win. Thor Hushovd in second.
Unofficially the top there were
#1 Martin Gilbert (Planet Energy)
#2 Andrew Pinfold (OUCH)
#3 Thor Hushovd (Cervelo Test Team)
The unofficial top six for the stage are
1 Martin Gilbert (Can) Planet Energy
2 Andrew Pinfold (Can) OUCH Presented By Maxxis
3 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Cervelo Test Team
4 Bernhard Eisel (Aut) Team Columbia-HTC
5 Kyle Wamsley (USA) Colavita/Sutter Home Presented By Cooking Light
6 Francesco Chicchi (Ita) Liquigas
The final GC (provisional) is
1 David Zabriskie (USA) Garmin-Slipstream
2 Gustav Larsson (Swe) Team Saxo Bank
3 Marco Pinotti (Ita) Team Columbia-HTC
4 Tom Zirbel (USA) Bissell Pro Cycling
5 Dario Cataldo (Ita) Quick Step
Hushovd keeps the green jersey of the points classification winner, and Aldape hangs onto the mountains jersey.
Dario Cataldo (Quick Step) goes home with best young rider honors.
That wraps up our live coverage for the 2009 Tour of Missouri. Thanks for joining us here at Cyclingnews. You can keep your live coverage fix going tomorrow by continuing to follow the Vuelta a Espana!