As Labor Day and the start of the 2009 Tour of Missouri Professional Cycling race quickly approach, I wanted to highlight the quick ascension the Tour of Missouri has seen in only its third year in existence. Of the 15 teams participating in this year’s race, seven teams also raced in the Tour de France. This is a dramatic increase from the three Tour de France teams that participated last year and only one in the inaugural year.
The field of cyclists for the 2009 Tour of Missouri will include the best in the sport. The seven teams that competed in this year’s Tour de France accounted for 14 victories out of the 21 stages in that race. Both of our previous Tour of Missouri champions, 2007 winner George Hincapie and 2008 winner Christian Vande Velde, will be back to compete. We will get to see some of the world’s best sprinters with 2009 Tour de France Sprint jersey winner Thor Hushovd and 10-time Tour de France stage winner Mark Cavendish. We will also see some of the best climbers, with 2009 Tour de France King of the Mountains jersey winner Franco Pellizotti confirmed to race.
The 2009 Tour of Missouri begins in St. Louis on Labor Day, September 7, and concludes in Kansas City on September 13. This year’s race will feature the finest field we have seen to date, with cyclists from over 20 countries, with national, world and Olympic champions on team rosters. I encourage everyone to come out and watch these world-class athletes. You can find more information about the Tour of Missouri at tourofmissouri.com. The Tour of Missouri is Missouri’s largest sporting event and it is free to the public.
Peter Kinder is Missouri's lieutenant governor.