The 2009 Tour of Missouri bicycle race begins Monday in St. Louis and runs through next Sunday when it ends in Kansas City following stops in Ste. Genevieve, Cape Girardeau, Farmington, Rolla, St. James, Jefferson City, Sedalia, Chillicothe, and St. Joseph along the way.
Tour of Missouri Project Manager Stacey Blomberg says Day One is a circuit race.
"On Stage One they will do a circuit race through downtown St. Louis," said Blomberg in an interview with the Missourinet. "The race starts at 2 o’clock with a finish somewhere around 5:00 – 5:30, it just depends on how fast those guys are racing."
The racers will spend Monday night in St. Louis before heading to the next stage on Tuesday morning in St. Genevieve. Blomberg says the start of each stage gives fans a great opportunity to meet the bicyclists.
"They’ll be able to walk right up to these guys," said Blomberg. "The fans can get autographs, have conversations with them. The guys are always willing to talk to anybody about anything with the race and their careers."
And if the weather is less than ideal – no problem!
"These guys race rain or shine," exclaimed Blomberg. "They have raced in hail, they have raced in snow. Unless it’s a public safety hazard – such as a tornado – they keep racing."
Sunday’s finale is a circuit race, as well, though it might be a little more demanding than the first day of racing in St. Louis.
"The guys have several climbs that they’re going to have to do," said Blomberg. "It’s not going to be an easy last day for them."
Total prize money for the week is approximately $170,000. Earnings are broken down by stage, with various amounts of money awarded after each stage of the week-long event.
Approximately four-thousand Missourians are volunteering during the course of the week-long event.