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Thursday, December 13, 2007

Tour of America

Plans are still being made for the Tour of America in 2008, albeit much shorter and less ambitious than originally planned.

The race is slated to begin Sept. 6 in New York City and end Sept. 28 in Palo Alto, Calif. In between, there are two stages still slated for the St. Louis area, a 143-mile stage from Casey, Ill., to St. Louis on Sept. 13 and a 134-mile stage from St. Louis to Columbia, Mo., on Sept. 14. The 15th would be a "rest day" in which the cyclists and their crews would fly to Denver and resume the race there on the 16th.

The original plan for the race called for a 250-mile stage from Indianapolis to St. Louis on Sept. 12, a 130-mile stage from St. Louis to Carbondale, Ill., on Sept. 13, and a 205-mile stage from Carbondale to Nashville, Tenn., on Sept. 14.

There remains several obstacles to this event:
  • The event still is not on the Union Cycliste Internationale schedule for 2008, meaning few major cyclists would show up.
  • The event would conflict with the Vuelta a EspaƱa and the Tour of Missouri, among other races. The Tour of the Missouri, by the way, is on the UCI schedule for Sept. 8-14.
  • Would Missouri have sufficient law-enforcement resources available to escort Tour of Missouri and Tour of America on Sept. 13-14? My hunch would be that the Missouri Highway Patrol would make Tour of Missouri a much higher priority.
  • And what about the transition from low altitude to high altitude? Columbia is about 760 feet above sea level. Denver is 5,280 feet above sea level. I know we're talking about high-level athletes, but you still have to wonder about such a drastic change in elevation.
In short, I remain rather skeptical whether the Tour of America actually will happen.

Thanks to my new Facebook friend Fritz at the Cyclelicious blog and VeloNews for reporting the new developments. Yep, I'm on Facebook as well as MySpace and LinkedIn, and frankly, I think Facebook is a lot more fun!

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