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Monday, September 07, 2009

Tour of Missouri: Stage 1 goes to Cavendish

Mark Cavendish continued his dominance in sprint finishes by taking Stage 1 of the Tour of Missouri in St. Louis. At least for one day, he gets to wear the yellow jersey.

Team Columbia-HTC controlled the pace of the peloton toward the end of the stage, enabling him to pull out to the victory. J.J. Haedo (Saxo Bank) was second, and Thor Hushovd (Cervelo Test Team)

The end of the stage was marred by an accident involving defending champion Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Slipstream) and Heinrich Haussler (Cervelo Test Team). Vande Velde suffered a wrist injury and went to a St. Louis hospital.

The crowds along the Market Street start/finish area were impressive and thick, and early on in the race, they stretched down Broadway toward Busch Stadium. I saw many people I knew through my association with the Belleville Area Bicycling and Eating Society and my friends who are a part of the St. Louis Regional Bicycle Federation.

I even saw an old friend of mine who lives in Georgia, Dr. Mike Rallo. Mike had a practice in the Edwardsville-Collinsville area for years, but now he's the medical director for a hospice program in Columbus, Ga. He's also now a part-owner of a bike shop.

As I expected, the crowd thinned out along Broadway until the route reached the Soulard neighborhood, where people could see the cyclists twice before they turned on Russell Street toward McGurk's Irish Pub and the King of the Mountain banner. The presence of bars and restaurants along the Russell Street section of the course no doubt help the crowd there.

Also as I expected, there was a respectable crowd in the Lafayette Square neighborhood. It's great to see such good support of the race.

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