Arrive early to pin down a spot at the finish line of the Tour of Missouri pro cycling race.
There will be a host of afternoon activities in front of the Boone County Courthouse before the bright colors of jerseys worn by world-class cyclists streak through the streets of Columbia on Sept. 14.
WHY IS IT CALLED A STAGE RACE?The race is held on six successive days, with a different course each day, traveling from town to town. Each day’s race is called a stage. Columbia is hosting the finish of the fourth stage of the six-stage race. The race is scored by time, with the time it takes each rider to cover the distance each day added together. The top finishers each day are awarded bonus time, which is deducted from their total time, as a reward for finishing first, second or third. The rider with the lowest total time after completion of all the stages wins the overall title.
THE MONEYThe total amount of money at stake for the Tour of Missouri is $114,490.47. Over the course of the six-day race, $9,000 will be awarded for the “Daily Stage Prizes” or the top 20 riders across the line each day. More than $26,000 will be presented to the top 20 riders at the end of the race. The winner of the Tour of Missouri will cash in at a little over $10,000.
A MOVING VILLAGEThe 120 cyclists are surrounded by a moving caravan of about 60 vehicles that includes team cars, police and event motorcycle marshals, publicity caravan vehicles, media and VIP cars and technical and official cars. The working staff includes more than 600 employees and 500 volunteers. The people involved in the Tour of Missouri will use more than 1,500 hotel rooms and eat more than 4,500 meals.
HOW DO THEY DO IT?Competitive cycling burns a tremendous number of calories. Riders consume an average of 5,900 calories each day; some riders can burn up to 9,000 calories per day. Each rider in the Tour of Missouri is expected to consume an average of 47,200 calories over the course of the entire race. Each rider consumes between a dozen and 50 or more 12-ounce bottles of water per day. Sources: Chuck hodge, medalist sports, TOUROFMISSOURI.COM Compiled by Caty Smith
But you’ll need to be on your toes and in position to catch the racers as they make their sprint to the end of a 133.4-mile leg that’s set to begin at
10:30 a.m. Friday in Lebanon, Mo.
Sgt. Tim Moriarity of the Columbia Police Department said
organizers are telling him to expect the riders to reach the city limits on New Haven Road between 3:06 and 4:34 p.m. Organizers also told Moriarity it would take between 10 and 13 minutes, based on the cyclists’ average speed, to reach the finish line. At any given point along College Avenue, the entire pack of cyclists is expected to sprint by in a short time.
“Think about a car driving by at 30 miles per hour,” Moriarity said.
One prime viewing location is the Stephens College parking lot at College Avenue and Walnut Street, where the racers must navigate a sharp left for the final few blocks.
“That’s going to be spectacular,” said Jody Russell of the Columbia Convention and Visitors Bureau, who is the chairwoman of the local race organizing committee. “(There’s) probably going to be some crashes. Hopefully not, but probably will be.”
Other prospects for viewing the racers in Columbia include sidewalks and overpasses along College Avenue, open areas along Rock Quarry Road and at the top of the steep climb from Capen Park to the Stadium Boulevard intersection.
Columbia marks the finish of Stage 4, the most demanding daily route of the six-day, 600-mile race sanctioned by USA Cycling and the UCI, the international cycling union..
“Our stage is a grueling distance,” said Lorah Steiner, executive director for the Columbia Convention and Visitors Bureau. “Almost nowhere is it a flat grade.”
Thomas McDaniel, the volunteer coordinator for the fourth stage, agrees. “By far this stage is the absolute hardest,” he said. “It’s nonstop and it’s exhausting.”
The finish-line festival is scheduled to begin about 1:30 p.m. on Sept. 14 in the parking lot at Eighth and Ash streets. It will include a health and fitness expo, team merchandise vendors and booths for state and local sponsors. A giant TV screen will provide live updates of the race in progress.
No one is certain how many spectators will turn out, though similar races in Georgia and California drew large crowds overall.
“This is the inaugural year for the event, so we don’t have a grasp on the size of the crowd yet, but we are expecting a large one,” Russell said.
The top three cyclists to cross the finish line will immediately be taken to the “green room,” where they will undergo drug screening, a routine procedure for professional cycling events, Russell said. A random pool of other cyclists will also be tested.
“It’s going to be a very grueling day for the cyclists, but (their physical) recovery time is quite remarkable,” said Barry Bennett, director of communications for Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder.
An awards ceremony will be held at the Tour of Missouri stage on the courthouse lawn 20 minutes after the cyclists have crossed the finish line.
Jerseys will be awarded to the overall leader, the most aggressive rider, the best young rider, the King of the Mountain Leader and the high points leader.
The coveted Missouri Tourism yellow jersey will be awarded to the overall race leader, who has accumulated the least amount of time throughout the entire race.
The Drury Inn Most Aggressive Rider jersey will be presented to a cyclist that is voted on throughout the day by judges and race organizers.
“It is almost like an MVP of the day,” Bennett said.
Build-A-Bears Best Young Rider jersey will be presented to the rider under the age of 25 who has accumulated the most points throughout the race. The Michelob Ultra King of the Mountain Leader jersey is awarded to the cyclist who has earned the most points from designated climbing competitions throughout the course.
The Edward Jones Sprint High Points Leader jersey will be presented to the cyclist who has earned the greatest number of points from designated point areas throughout the race.