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Monday, September 08, 2008

2008 Tour of Missouri: A modest preview

Instead of writing this post, I was hoping to be watching live video from the first stage of the 2008 Tour of Missouri.

Because of weather conditions and equipment issues, none of the outlets for streaming video -- Universal Sports, the Tour of Missouri Tracker or KMOV-TV in St. Louis -- are working. At least the Tour of Missouri Tracker has the commentary and location of the riders working, so that helps.

Clearly, the two top teams here this year are Columbia and Garmin-Chipotle. Defending champion George Hincapie rides for Columbia. Two former Discovery Channel teammates who were at last year's race -- Alberto Contador and Levi Leipheimer -- aren't here this year. Instead, Contador and Leipheimer are at the Vuelta a Espana. (Leipheimer's in second place overall after today's stage; he was in first after Sunday's stage.)

Illinois native Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Chipotle) also will be one of the people to watch for this year. Vande Velde finished fifth in this year's race. Will Frischkorn, who finished second in last year's Tour of Missouri, is back for another go, and David Zabriskie and Danny Pate also are in Missouri.

Columbia is getting a boost from Britain’s Mark Cavendish, winner of four Tour de France stages and two Tour of Italy stages this season, and three-time world champion time trialist Michael Rogers of Australia.

It will be interesting to see whether the Tour of Missouri can increase its fan numbers from last year. Event organizers were pleased with the turnout in most of the finish citieslast year.

You also can read some of the Missouri papers' previews of the Tour of Missouri. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch devoted considerably less space to the preview of this year's race compared with last year, when the Post ran a special section. In today's Post, the preview consisted of a single article and a list of top contenders.

Check out Google News for a list of other newspapers' previews of the race. Also, some of the links on the right side of this blog can fill you in.

P.S. This post is a mild milestone for this blog. This is my 700th post since Febraury 2004.

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