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Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Tour of Missouri St. Louis stage

The final stage of the Tour of Missouri on Sunday, Sept. 16, will begin and end at Union Station. Ride organizers posted the map tonight in advance of their press conference at 11 a.m. Thursday at Union Station.

Here's how the circuit will go: West on Market Street, west on Forest Park Parkway, north on DeBaliviere Ave, east on Delmar Boulevard, south on Euclid Avenue, east on Lindell Boulevard, east on Olive Street, south on 15th Street and west on Market back to Union Station. The circuit is about 10.6 miles, but the map doesn't make it clear how many laps are planned. Perhaps that will be revealed Thursday.

I'm sure race organizers would have loved to route the circuit closer to the Gateway Arch, but that wasn't a realistic option this year. The St. Louis Cardinals play the Chicago Cubs at Busch Stadium, while the St. Louis Rams take on the San Francisco 49ers at the Edward Jones Dome. Both are day games (Cards-Cubs at 1:15 p.m., Rams-49ers at noon), so traffic and parking demands would have made it nearly impossible to route the circuit any closer to the Arch and the Old Courthouse, two of the most iconic symbols of the city.

But, still, the Arch and the Old Courthouse will make a great backdrop for cyclists racing down Market Street. Of course, the colors won't be quite as vibrant during the race as they were when this picture of Market Street, the Arch, the Old Courthouse, Union Station and the Civil Courts building was taken, but a skilled photographer should be able to get a powerful image with the peloton and the landmarks.

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Roger 1 comments links to this post 10:36 PM

Have they really thought this out?

No doubt incorporating parts of downtown is a good idea for picture taking but in terms of increasing interest, support, attractive course design, I have my doubts.

FP Expwy, between Kingshighway and DeBalivere Blvd, is virtually unaccessible to pedestrians and fans. Other sections in the course are dangerous for riders and are unattractive.

Then of course many sports fans will be trying to leave downtown with the baseball and football games. The closing of important access routes will not create affection for cycling related activities.

I had hope that the jewel of the area, Forest Park, would be largely closed to automobiles and more widely used. This area would provide some nice hills, the best of StL, and great beauty.

A significant problem though continues to be ToM's main purpose: IT IS designed to raise money from tourists instead of promoting cycling.

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