The Tour of Missouri is September 7-13, 2009. Starting in St. Louis and working its way west for an eventual finish in Kansas City, this year's Tour of Missouri features seven stages, including two circuit races and a time trial. Tour organizers have announced initially four top teams expected to attend, listed below. Other teams will be added as their participation is confirmed.
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One of the top pro cycling teams in the world, Astana features a host of powerful riders in Lance Armstrong and Levi Leipheimer, who is just coming off a win in the Tour of California. Right with them on the roster are 2007 Tour de France winner Alberto Contador and Tour de France podium finisher Andres Kloden of Germany.
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Tom Boonen brings his QuickStep teammates, the current No. 1-ranked team in the world to the Tour of Missouri. Boonen, who won Paris-Roubaix for the third time this spring, rides with Stijn Devolder of Belgium and Australian Allan Davis, who has led the UCI's Pro Tour standings much of the year. It will be QuickStep's first time racing at the Tour of Missouri, and it joins one of the top fields assembled outside of Europe this season.
"We are pleased that several of the world's top-ranked teams have requested invites," said Chris Aronhalt, the managing partner of event organizer Medalist Sports. "We now have six Tour de France entrants in the race, a staggering amount for a young race."
3. Team Saxo Bank
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Currently ranked #2 in the world, the powerful Saxo Bank team is led by Fabian Cancellara (Olympic and world champion time trialist) of Switzerland; brothers Frank and Andy Schleck (winner of last weekend's Leige-Bastogne-Leige) of Luxembourg and Germany's Jens Voigt.
4. Cervelo Test Team
This will be Cervelo's first year competing in the Tour of Missouri. The Swiss-based team features 2008 Tour de France champion Carlos Sastre, top Norwegian sprinter Thor Hushovd, and Dominque Rollin, who finished third overall in the 2007 Tour of Missouri and won the Michelob ULTRA King of the Mountain jersey last year.
5. Columbia-High Road
Columbia-High Road features 2007 Tour of Missouri champion George Hincapie of Greenville, S.C., and Britain's Mark Cavendish, who won three stages of the 2008 race and the Sprint Points jersey. Cavendish took two stages of the 2009 Amgen Tour of California and is currently considered the best sprinter in the world by many cycling enthusiasts.
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Garmin-Slipstream is expected to bring an extremely talented squad that includes 2008 Tour of Missouri Race Champion Christian Vande Velde and Canadian Svein Tuft, who finished third overall in last year's race.
"We're coming back to Missouri to win again," said Garmin-Slipstream's general manager Jonathan Vaughters.
7. BMC Racing U.S. team BMC Racing, a recent competitor in Paris-Roubaix, comes to the Tour after a whole season of racing in the U.S. and Europe. With a lot of young riders, this squad may offer some surprisingly strong performances. Keep an eye in particular on Alexander Moos, Brent Bookwalter and Ian McKissick.
8. LiquigasItaly-based Liquigas returns to the Tour of Missouri with top rider Roman Kreuziger, who won the Best Young Rider jersey in last year's race.