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Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Tour of Missouri: Stage 4-7 routes

In some ways, the Tour of Missouri is covering lot of new ground this year. With the exception of Stage 4, the routes for this year's Tour are new. Here's a quick look at the routes for the final four stages:

Stage 4 (St. James to Jefferson City, Sept. 10): This is the only repeat route for this year's race. The stage starts in St. James, home to another of Missouri's top wineries, the St. James Winery, and continues on lots of undulating rolling hills, although not as severe as Stage 3, on its way to the state capital of Jefferson City. The stage ends with a 300-meter climb up to the Capitol Wall. The intermediate sprints are in the small towns of Bella and Taos, and the one King of the Mountains banner is about a mile north of Meta on Highway B.

If you got time to kill before the Stage 4 finish, which is expected between 5:30 and 6:30 p.m., you can do some riding on the Katy Trail. Although the crushed limestone surface is best suited for hybrid or mountain bikes, conditions on the trail should be dry enough that you can ride a road bike on the trail. A Katy Trail spur takes you over the Missouri River on the Highway 54 bridge to the North Jefferson trailhead.

And, of course, you should visit the Capitol. In addition to its distinctive architecture, the interior is home to noted artist Thomas Hart Benton's "Social History of Missouri" and the Missouri State Museum.

Stage 5 (Sedalia Individual Time Trial, Sept. 11): Sedalia is best known for being the home of the Missouri State Fair, and that's where the time trial begins and ends. It starts at the roundabout and ends near the Woman's Building.

If you have your bike with you, you can ride the Katy Trail to three vantage points of the time trial route: at West 32nd Street, along Quisenberry and Arnett roads and at Highway B.

Other Sedalia attractions include the Bothwell Lodge State Historic Site and the restored Katy depot.

Stage 6 (Chillicothe to St. Joseph, Sept. 12): The Tour of Missouri may be the arguably biggest thing to hit Chillicothe since sliced bread. The first-ever loaves of sliced bread were made and sold in Chillicothe in 1928. A product of the Chillicothe Baking Company, it was sliced on a machine called the Rohwedder Bread Slicer, invented by Iowa resident Otto Rohwedder. It's fitting Chillicothe will has a sliced bread baking contest at 10:45 a.m., one of many events such as kids bike races before the 1 p.m. CDT start of the race. After the big boys leave, parents and adults alike can ride the early part of the course.

The course, of course, has lots of rolling hills, plus headwinds could be a factor in this highly agricultural part of the state. Intermediate sprints are set for Gallatin and Savannah, and the King of the Mountain banner on Highway K between Amazonia and St. Joseph.

St. Joseph is best known for being the starting point of the Pony Express and the city where outlaw Jesse James was shot to death. Museums mark those events. The stage ends at City Hall.

Stage 7 (Kansas City circuit race, Sept. 13): The first two years of the Tour of Missouri ended in St. Louis on a relatively easy circuit from downtown toward Forest Park and back. Thsi year's closing circuit in Kansas City promises to be tougher with more steep hills and technical sections.

The race will begin and end at Grand Avenue at Washington Park in the city's Power & Light District. Competitors will make seven laps on the 10.2-mile course that winds through Penn Valley Park, then back toward downtown Kansas City to the Richard L. Berkeley Riverfront Park along the Missouri River, then back downtown to the Power & Light District, which has a wide range of restaurants and bars.

For a closer look at maps, profiles and course logs for Stages 4-7 , go to the Tour of Missouri site.

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