Friday’s finish line to host spectators and activities

Wednesday, September 12, 2007 | 8:52 p.m. CDT; updated 11:39 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

COLUMBIA — There will be plenty of activities at the finish line when the Tour of Missouri rides into town Friday afternoon, but hanging out with the cyclists isn’t one of them.

Three members of Team Jelly Belly will be signing autographs Friday evening at Columbia Mall, but the rest of the cyclists will be quickly whisked away to their hotels after finishing the race’s fourth stage, a 133-mile trek from Lebanon.

Upon crossing the finish lines, cyclists will ride a short slow-down route before being escorted to their team vans by motorcycle, said Jody Russell, chairwoman for the local race organizing committee.

Cyclists will then head back to their hotels for a massage, team meeting and rest, Russell said.

Team Jelly Belly cyclists Matty Rice, Jeremy Powers and Farmington native Brian Dziewa will be on hand to sign autographs at 6 p.m. Friday in the Sears wing of the mall.

Tour spectators can watch the last two hours of the race on two big screens: one close to the finish line at the Boone County Courthouse and one in the expo area on Eighth Street near East Ash Street and Park Avenue.

To do this, cameras placed on motorcycles will submit their signals up to light aircraft above that will then transmit that signal to the two screens in Columbia, Russell said.

About 300 volunteers will be in action Friday, with 250 of those being used to block off any roads that intersect with the trail, Russell said. That includes driveways that let out into the route.

The large crowd in Kansas City on Tuesday was encouraging to tour organizers.

“According to the drivers on Tuesday, there were probably upwards of 100,000 along the route,” said Steve Brunner, a tour organizer.

Brunner said the 40,000 estimated in Kansas City was four times what was originally projected. Early estimations also had the amount of out-of-state spectators at 30 percent, Brunner said.

Russell said Columbia could expect between 3,000 and 5,000 people at the finish line on Friday.

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