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Monday, July 16, 2007

News and notes

Today's post consists of some bits and pieces from the cycling scene:

TOUR DE DONUT: Congratulations to all the winners in this year's Tour de Donut, which was run Saturday in Staunton, Ill. A round of applause goes out to all the winners, and you can see all of the actual times and doughnut bonus adjusted times at the ride's Web site. As you know, I consider the people with the best adjusted times as the champions of the Tour de Donut, and special credit goes out to Anna Witt, who defended her title in the Women's Under-50 division by eating 16 doughnuts for an adjusted time of 1 hour, 13 seconds.

ITS TRAIL: Speaking of Staunton, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch today reported on the efforts of the ITS Trail Committee to build a trail from Staunton to Benld. The trail would link a proposed Madison County Transit trail from Worden to Staunton to the existing Gillespie-Benld trail. The long-term goal is build a network of trails that would connect St. Louis and Springfield, Ill.

The Macoupin County Board supports the project, and county government will act as the committee's fiscal agent for expected future grants.

"We've seen what the trails have done in Madison County," County Board Chairman Andy Manar told Post-Dispatch reporter Terry Hillig. "It's an issue of improving the quality of life and health, and it has the potential for countywide impact."

TOUR DE FRANCE: Today was a rest day after Michael Rasmussen grabbed the yellow jersey with his Stage 8 win Sunday. Tomorrow should be a interesting day with climbs of the Col de l'Iseran, the Col du telegraphe and the Col du Galibier. The first week of the tour was slower than in recent years, and experts have various theories about why -- headwinds, cyclists saving themselves for the Alps and a reduction of doping.

TOUR OF MISSOURI: The Associated Press reports why the state of Missouri is putting so much effort in promoting the Tour of Missouri on Sept. 11-16.

The bottom line: marketing.

Here's an excerpt from the story:

Life after Lance Armstrong has been anything but smooth for pro cycling, which this time of year is normally celebrating the annual Tour de France. Instead, the sport is struggling to preserve its public relevance, financial footing and athletic integrity amid increasing allegations of a rampant culture of cheating.

So what in the name of Floyd Landis is the Show-Me State doing rolling out the red carpet - not to mention more than $1 million of taxpayer money - for the inaugural Tour of Missouri, a six-day, 600-mile stage race that will bring some of the world's top riders here in mid-September?

For Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, the answer is simple: a global marketing bonanza the likes of which Missourians have never seen.

"This is the greatest opportunity we have ever had to brand Missouri to a national and international audience," said Kinder, who is also chairman of the Missouri Tourism Commission.

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