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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Disappointment in Springfield and Hannibal

As you might imagine, the Tour of Missouri's decision not to route the 2009 through Springfield and Branson came as a disappointment to civic leaders in those communities. Springfield and Branson had been host cities the first two years of the race.

Also disappointed were the folks up in Hannibal, who were hoping to get to race to visit northeast Missouri for the first time.

Tour organizers are striving to take the race to other parts of the state. St. Louis and Kansas City, the state's two largest metropolitan areas, not surprising got to keep their stages. Springfield is Missouri's third-largest metropolitan area.

"To my knowledge, there wasn't anything in their guidelines we couldn't accommodate," Springfieled organizing committee chairman Randy Worley told the Springfield News-Leader. "We had met their requirements the last two years and continuously had been praised for the organization and facilities we offered. I think the new schedule indicates they were trying to give other cities a turn."

A civic leader in Hannibal told the Hannibal Courier-Post that politics might have played a role in choosing southeast Missouri over northeast Missouri.

“I would lie if I didn’t say that I think politics doesn’t play into it a bit,” said Beau Hicks, executive director of the Hannibal Convention and Visitors Bureau. “The southeast corner of the state has definitely wanted it and I think politically seeing that the lieutenant governor (Peter Kinder) is from there probably gives them a little better chance at getting that corner of the state involved than perhaps our corner to be real honest.”

Kinder, who has spearheaded the state's promotion of the Tour of Missouri, lives in Cape Girardeau, the finishing city for Stage 2 of this year's race. I'm sure that helped.

But other factors that probably helped Cape Girardeau's bid include the challenging terrain near that community and an active cycling community that strongly supports events such as the Tour de Corn and the Tour de Cape.

The Hannibal folks hope the Tour de Missouri will reconsider their community in 2010 during Hannibal's commemoration of the 100th anniversary of Mark Twain's death. The legendary author was born in Florida, Mo., and spent most of his childhood in Hannibal.


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Roger 1 comments links to this post 8:47 AM

That's too bad that Hannibal has been denied a stop for the Tour of Missouri this year. Maybe next year.
As Mark Twain said: "Denial ain't just a river in Egypt."
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