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Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Two-for-two for Cavendish

When it comes to sprint finishes, it's tough to beat Britain's Mark Cavendish. The Columbia rider just one his second straight Tour de Missouri stage, taking the 126-mile stage from Clinton to Springfield.

Commentators Steve Schlanger and Nathan O'Neill say Cavendish's dominance of the race should end Wednesday in the Stage 3 time trial in the tourist city of Branson. We shall see.

There's a good chance the yellow jersey will remain in Columbia's possession, even if Cavendish falters in the time trial. Of course, you also can't count out Christian Vande Velde or some his Garmin-Chiptole teammates.

I had work to do today, so I didn't jump aboard the video coverage until late in the stage. I noticed that the streaming video on the Tour of Missouri Tracker and Universal Sports wasn'tworking again, but I did manage to find streaming video at KMOV-TV in St. Louis. If Tour of Missouri Tracker and Universal Sports aren't working again tomorrow, you may want to check out KMOV for the streaming video.

Here's a few more observations about Stage Two:
  • The people of Springfield, Mo., seemed to be impressed by the racers, both the Springfield News-Leader reported. It helped that Brad Huff, a native of nearby Fair Grove, Mo., finished sixth, but they were amazed by the entire field. "It was amazing," Carol Winaus of Springfield said from her perch on the crowded bleachers. "It's amazing how fast they go. You can't blink or else you'll miss it."
  • They also seemed to be especially impressed by Cavendish. The crowd went wild, as it did at Monday's finish. And so, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported, he has spent more time signing autographs and smiling than any other rider. "He's got that impish charm," said team owner Bob Stapleton. "He's like everybody's little brother."
  • Wednesday's time trial promises more of the fun that racers saw last year. The 18-mile course features three climbs, the last being a 2.5-mile haul up to Shepherd of the Hills Homestead and Outdoor Center, the location where tourism in the Ozarks was started in 1907. It was also made famous by the book and movie by the same title. The movie starred John Wayne.

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