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German superstar Jens Voigt, a multiple Tour de France stage winner and two-time Tour of Germany champion, Sweden’s two-time national time trial champion and Beijing Olympic silver medalist Gustav Larsson, will look to lead the world’s No. 2-ranked Saxo Bank team at this year’s Tour of Missouri, scheduled for September 7 – 13, 2009.
In addition to Voigt and Larsson, Saxo Bank’s roster includes: American Jason McCartney; Tour de France super domestiques Chris Anker Sorensen and Nicki Sorensen, both of Denmark; Lars Bak of Denmark and Marcus Lungqvist of Sweden; and J.J. Haedo, the Argentinian sprinter who has won five stages in the top American stage races the past three years. One rider has yet to be named to the eight-man team.
“This a very deep and talented team,” said Jim Birrell the Tour of Missouri’s race director. “It’s great to have the participation of Saxo Bank and its quality riders in the Tour of Missouri for the first time. Jens Voigt is a long-time favorite by cycling fans around the world. The rest of their team will no doubt contest for both G.C. and stage wins. They are one of the best stage racing teams in the world.”
Voigt become a world wonder recently on YouTube after he violently crashed going 55 mph descending during a stage at July’s Tour de France. He was seen by more than 3 million people within 24 hours after the crash, in which he suffered a fractured cheek bone and concussion. McCartney placed third overall in the 2008 Amgen Tour of California and has been King of the Mountain champion at the Tour de Georgia. Haedo, who has won three stages the past couple years in the Tour of California will try to match speed with tp sprinters Mark Cavendish of Columbia-HTC and Cervelo TestTeam’s Thor Hushovd.
The race begins in St. Louis on Monday, September 7, Labor Day, with a 10-lap, 75-mile circuit race that will be fast and flat and favor a sprinter taking the leader’s jersey. On Tuesday, September 8, the race will transfer south to Ste. Genevieve with a 112.4-mile road race to Cape Girardeau. The terrain is hilly to moderate and features finishing circuits.
On Wednesday, September 9, cyclists will face their toughest challenge of the race, with a hilly 114.3-mile stage in the Northern Ozark Mountains from Farmington to Rolla. After a short transfer on Thursday, September 10, the race will proceed from St. James to Jefferson City, with the circuit finish featuring a steep 300-meter uphill sprint to the finish.
Riders will be able make up time Friday, September 11, during the individual time trial at Sedalia with a 19-mile race against the clock around Missouri’s State Fairgrounds. On Saturday, September 12, cyclists will race from Chillicothe to St. Joseph while hitting moderate to hilly terrain.
The weeklong journey through the Show-Me-State concludes with a hilly circuit through the streets of Kansas City, Sunday, September 13. The Kansas City circuit will feature two king of the mountain points with more than 2,000 feet of climbing over 72 miles.
The upgrade has drawn top pro tour teams Astana, Cervélo TestTeam, Columbia- HTC, Garmin- Slipstream, Liquigas, Saxo Bank and Quickstep, all recent Tour de France teams, of which won 14 of 21 stages of the world’s biggest race. Domestic teams participating in 2009 include BISSELL Pro Cycling Team, BMC Racing, Colovita / Sutter Home presented by Cooking Light, Jelly Belly, Kelly Benefit Strategies, OUCH presented by Maxxis, and Team Type 1. Canada’s top team Planet Energy rounds out the field.
Previously announced were superstars of the sports, including Britain’s Cavendish, a 10-time Tour de France stage winner and wildly considered the world’s best sprinter; 2007 Tour of Missouri champion George Hincapie; three-time world champion Mick Rogers of Australia, all of team Columbia-HTC; Norway’s Hushovd, the sprint jersey winner of this year’s Tour de France and Cervelo TestTeam member Heinrich Haussler, a stage winner at the this year’s Tour de France; Italy’s Franco Pellizotti of the Liquigas-Cannondale team, the 2009 Tour de France KOM Champion and Australia’s Rory Sutherland and Floyd Landis of Team OUCH, and the top ranked rider on the domestic circuit. Top five-ranked teams Astana and QuickStep will announce their top riders in the next couple days.
The race will be contested over seven days and seven stages. There will be two circuit races (St. Louis, Kansas City), one individual time trial (Sedalia), and four point to-point road races (Ste. Genevieve to Cape Girardeau; Farmington to Rolla; St. James to Jefferson City; Chillicothe to St. Joseph). The race is sanctioned by USA Cycling and UCI, the international governing body for the sport.
For more information: www.tourofmissouri.com
Stage 1 – St. Louis, circuit race, 75 miles (120.7 km) – flat
Stage 2 – Ste. Genevieve to Rolla, 112.4 miles (180.9 km) – moderate to hilly
Stage 3 – Farmington to Rolla, 114.3 mi. (183.9 km) – hilly
Stage 4 – St. James to Jefferson City, 109.2 mi. (175.7 mi.) – moderate
Stage 5 – Sedalia, Time Trial, 19 mi. (30.5 km) – flat
Stage 6 – Chillicothe to St. Joseph, 110.3 mi. (177.4 km) – moderate to hilly
Stage 7 – Kansas City, circuit race, 72.3 mi. (116.4 km) – moderate with short steep hills