Branson to host Stage 3 time trial in six-day Tour of Missouri cycling event

The Tour of Missouri, America’s newest elite professional cycling race, today revealed race and route details for Stage Three of the six-day, 600-mile race through the state, a Time Trial around Branson on Thursday, September 13, 2007.

This first-time Missouri event will bring 120 racers from some of the world’s best cycling teams for six action-packed days through Missouri’s most beautiful areas, including the Katy Trail, the Ozarks, wine country and the capitol city, and a grand finale on Sunday, September 16, 2007, an 80-mile circuit race around St. Louis.

“Branson is happy to host the Individual Time Trial for the inaugural Tour of Missouri,” said Ross Summers, President/CEO of the Branson/Lakes Area Convention & Visitors Bureau. “Branson is also proud to be offering an opportunity for all riders to come and experience the time trial route themselves. There will be an amateur event for riders of all levels to participate in prior to the professional race beginning on September 13. This event will be completed in plenty of time to allow the participants adequate time to get back out on the course and cheer on the pros. This will be a timed ride, awards and prizes will be included.”

The popular destination of Branson will provide a perfect backdrop for a very exciting “race of truth” as each athlete races one at a time along an 18-mile (29-kilometer) course that includes 2500 feet (762 meters) of climbing into the Ozark Mountains. Starting at 11 am from Branson Landing, this course will bring the racers out and back along the aptly named High Road and provide a dramatic uphill finish at the Shepherd of the Hills Outdoor Theatre. The Branson Time Trial could well be the pivotal stage of the Tour of Missouri, narrowing down the contenders for the overall win in St. Louis.

“Missouri is a very diverse state and we will be showcasing some of its finest areas,” said Jim Birrell, the race’s director. “From Kansas City to St. Louis, this will be a great postcard of Missouri to the world. The Ozarks present spectacular viewing opportunities for a dramatic course that will highlight the strong climbers.”

“The overall course will be deceivingly difficult,” commented the Tour’s competition director Kevin Livingston, a Missouri native who rode on two of Lance Armstrong’s successful Tour de France championship teams. “This is an American-type of race and could see a lot of attacking and breakaways. The course lends itself to tough chases and could highlight a rider in good form going into the World Championships later that month.”

Added Professional Cyclist Dan Schmatz: “Being from Missouri, I’m extremely excited about this race. The constantly rolling terrain offers a fantastic route and it will be great for people within or traveling to the state to see what big-time professional cycling is all about. This will be a great culminating event for the American riders finishing their season. And, we always look forward to racing against some of the big international teams on domestic soil.”

As part of the race festivities, Branson Landing, which is hosting the day’s start of the race and awards ceremony, will have a fun-filled Health and Wellness Expo Area, including vendors, bicycle stunt teams and a large movie screen showing all of the action out on the course.

“Missouriis known as the Show-Me State, and we look forward to showing our state to spectators around the world through the Tour of Missouri,” remarked Missouri Governor Matt Blunt. “This event has great potential to bring economic benefits to our state and is an opportunity for us to join these world class cyclists to spread the message of the positive benefits of an active and healthy lifestyle.”

Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder added, “The Tour of Missouri is an exciting way to showcase the beauty of our state. I believe this race will capture the imagination of the entire State of Missouri. The race will create the potential for millions of additional tourism dollars being pumped into the local economy’s of Missouri cities as well as our smaller, rural communities.”

The complete race route through Missouri will be announced August 6, 2007. See for the Press Kit and more information.

About Tour of Missouri

The Tour of Missouri is a 600-mile, six-day world-class bicycle race patterned after the Tour de Georgia and Amgen Tour of California. It is a race that features point-to-point racing. The race starts in Kansas City, September 11 and concludes September 16 in St. Louis, including legs to Clinton, Springfield, Branson, Lebanon, Columbia, Jefferson City, and St. Charles. The race will feature teams of eight from 15 of the world’s top professional cycling teams.

The race is sanctioned by the UCI, the international governing body for cycling, and USA Cycling, the national governing body for cycling. It is ranked as a 2.1, second in ranking to only the Tour de Georgia and Amgen Tour of California in North American cycling. The event’s management group is Medalist Sports of Tyrone, Ga., the organizers of both the California and Georgia races. KOM Sports Marketing of Colorado Springs, Colo., is the event’s marketing agency.

September 11 – Kansas City to Kansas City, road race (out and back)
September 12 – Clinton to Springfield, road race
September 13 – Branson, individual time trial
September 14 – Lebanon to Columbia, road race
September 15 – Jefferson City to St. Charles, road race
September 16 – St. Louis, circuit race

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