Category: Tour of Missouri

July 11, 2009

Save the Tour of Missouri

Scott Moninger - (c) Ken Conley

Where else can you see lines of MoDoT trucks protecting riders in a time trial? Add to that a prime cut of teams contending -- Astana, Garmin, Saxo Bank, Quick Step, Cervelo, Liquigas, Columbia, and more -- and it becomes all the more surprising that the state of Missouri is now freezing $1.5M in funds that are necessary for the race to be held this year. Perhaps someone should whisper to the Missouri state legislature that Lance will be there.

Clearly the US cannot suffer the loss of many more races, especially the top class stage races (Tour de Georgia, Tour of Missouri).

September 8, 2008

That Little Race in Missouri

Scott Moninger - (c) Ken Conley
Photo by Ken Conley

Yeah, so I wish I was there, but I only had the time this year to do two "Tours" and I chose California and Georgia. Missouri, I hope to book your ticket next year.

Good thing Lyne is there, providing better coverage than I ever could because she's doing photos, interviews, and blog posts. She's a one-stop VeloNews -- even a step better because she covered the women's crit. In fact, it's almost midnight and VeloNews still only has four sentences covering Stage 1 and of course no mention of Brooke Miller's crit win. Lyne already has post-race quotes with Cavendish and Farrar, a stage summary, the women's crit, and a good preview, which is like one entry for each of VeloNews' sentences. VeloNews, I love you and all, but I could really care less about the Tour of Britain.

You should check out Lyne's photos of Brooke Miller in her Tibco-branded National Champ jersey -- it's a good sight better than the generic number she was wearing last week. is of course now locked in on the Tour of Missouri.

August 4, 2008

Tour of Missouri Teams Announced, No Astana

Disco Posse - (c) Ken Conley
Photo by Ken Conley
Last year the Tour of Missouri was Discovery's last hurrah on American soil and they went out with a bang as George Hincapie took the overall and Levi Leipheimer hammered the time trial. Johan Bruyneel gave a tearful hand wave to the crowd as the 7-Eleven, Motorola, USPS, Discovery Channel lineage was honored at the St. Louis finale. It's going to be a different story this year as George Hincapie will be back, but Discovery, in the form of Astana, will not. Just like the Tour de France, there will be no Contador or Levi, but I imagine this is for very different reasons.

Similarly, Luciano Pagliarini won't be able to add to his ToM stage wins as the team formerly known as Saunier-Duval-Scott won't be making an appearance. Instead, Rabobank and Liquigas will be there to help maintain the high ranking of the event.

Danny Pate - (c) Ken Conley
Photo by Ken Conley
Garmin-Chipotle will of course be there. They've gotten a lot of mileage out of Danny Pate's winning salute in his stage-5 solo victory and this time around the fans will be out to honor their Tour de France performance.

The 2008 Tour of Missouri teams:

  • Garmin-Chipotle
  • Columbia
  • Liquigas
  • Rabobank
  • Symmetrics
  • BMC
  • Sparkasse
  • Tecos
  • Health Net presented by MAXXIS
  • Toyota-United
  • Rock Racing
  • Colavita Sutter Home presented by Cooking Light
  • Bissell
  • Kelly Benefit Strategies - Medifast
  • Jelly Belly

October 8, 2007

Brad Huff crash at ToM

nborozinski to this close-up video of the Brad Huff crash at the Tour of Missouri. Yeoch. Thanks to Neil@ROAD for finding the link.

Dominguez Wins (1)

September 16, 2007

That's all folks!

My real vacation starts tomorrow -- that's all I have for cycling right now. Hope you all have enjoyed the coverage.

The Tour of Missouri far exceeded my expectations. While it was without the start-to-finish drama due to Hincapie's early lead in the competition, it was full of fans, beautiful scenery, top-notch cyclists, and big storylines: end of Discovery and Navigators, the splitting of Kodak Gallery/Sierra Nevada, Hincapie in yellow, and the rise of Slipstream. The organization was also impressive. The police shutdown the bridge out of Jefferson City twice and I still don't know how MODOT got 70+ trucks set up and taken down as a barricade so quickly.

Many thanks to Brook for helping me get the shots, Casey, Jon, Kyle, and Liz for being really nice mentors, and Mike for lending me the extra camera body that was essential. I'm looking even more forward to the Tour of California, which starts in my backyard.

Tour of Missouri Stage 6: Dominguez bookends the ToM

Dominguez Wins
Photos by Ken Conley

Hincapie Wins the Overall

Stage 6 Photo Gallery

Ivan Dominguez won convincingly in the final sprint to take the stage win and green jersey while George Hincapie finished his career with Discovery in yellow. Dominguez's wins bookended the inaugural Tour of Missouri while teammate Justin England bookended the Tour in a different way by finishing in the honored last place. Team Slipstream locked up the Team classificiation in a sign that they will be the next USA team to dominate on North American soil.

Dominguez Wins

Brad Huff crashed in the finish but was able to ride across the line. You can just make out him on the ground behind Dominguez while his bike flies off to the left.

Farewell Discovery

Johan Bruyneel Johan Bruyneel Johan Bruyneel

Johan Bruyneel looked on the verge of tears when they brought present and former Discovery-lineage (Motorola-current) players on stage at the end of the race.

Mike Friedman St Louis St Louis Peloton Hincapie Wins the Overall Overall Levi Leipheimer Hincapie and Frishkorn

Ivan Dominguez Navigators Farewell Discovery Peloton

Stage 6 Photo Gallery

September 15, 2007

Tour of Missouri Stage 5: Pate solos from the break

Copy of Copy of IMG_1537

Bridge at Washington

Jeff City

Bridge at Hermann

Danny Pate, Stage Winner

Stage 5 Photo Gallery

Danny Pate, the time trialer who's frequently attacks near the finish, notched a victory for Team Slipstream. Discovery Channel kept the break in striking distance but none of the other teams had the desire to reel it in. Parra put an attack into the break ahead but it was Pate's counterattack with 2k to go that stuck. Even with the failed attack, it was a good day for Parra and the Mexican Tecos squad. Parra earned Most Aggressive designation and second place on the podium.

Today was the prettiest of the stages, in my opinion. The course followed the Katy Trail/Historic Lewis and Clark trail along the river. The towns along the way all had that old charm and the bridges were fun to shoot, even if one of them was seismically unfit. I shot the Hermann bridge from a hilltop that a church sat atop of -- I couldn't tell if the wedding party getting ready was happy or nervous that the road to their wedding ceremony was currently blockaded for a cycling race. I shot the Washington bridge while precariously standing on the edge, though I was strangely more worried about my camera equipment than my safety.

Stage 5 Photo Gallery

September 14, 2007

Disco Posse


Favorite ToM rider: Justin England


IMG_0642 IMG_0645

Justin England has been my favorite rider this Tour. He's like Dave Zabriskie, except completely unshy. England was the first rider to start at the Branson time trial, and he got the crowd completely jazzed up by hamming it up with facial expressions and asking the crowd to cheer louder.

Today's start was a similar experience. School kids assigned to cheer on Toyota United showed up at the team bus. England was the first off the bus and immediately had the kids squealing as he shouted, "I can't hear you!" England and Chris Wheery worked their way through the excited kids, signing dozens of autographs. England later hammed it up in the high-five line as he approached the start -- he was the only rider I saw criss-cross the starting area to make sure he gave high-fives to kids waiting on both sides.

The kids had no idea who the cyclists were. They don't know who Levi Leipheimer is. They were just happy that people were rewarding their efforts to show support. It was great to see that riders like England -- and his team Toyota United -- recognized this, unlike, say, some more famous teams.

Tour of Missouri Stage 4: Pagliarini calls his shot

Pagliarini wins

Copy of IMG_1264 Copy of IMG_1281

Stage 4 Photo Gallery

Saunier Duval's Luciano Pagliarini outkicked stage-1-winner Ivan Dominguez and Symmetrics' Andrew Pinfold to take the stage win. Crosswinds opened the door for a breakaway but the gaps were kept more manageable with Discovery at the front of the peloton. Pagliarini sent his team to the front to do the final reel in and repaid their efforts with a strong win.

I screwed up the finishing shot. My initial gut told me that it was going to be Pagliarini, but I pulled off at the last second to try and catch the Pinfold coming around the end. I ended up getting not much of either, except some lessons learned.

Long road stages are tough without a motorcycle. You have to drive like a madman and often you still end up missing the peloton flying by. I managed to catch the peloton at a scenic bridge only to see the photographers on motorcycle arrive just in time to take the exact same shot. Its fun, though, and a good excuse to chat up the locals to get to know the local terrain.

Copy of IMG_1382 Copy of IMG_1406

The stage start was a blast. Lebanon brought out the students of Boswell Middle School in full force and decked out in yellow school t-shirts. Groups of students were each assigned a team and they dutifully walked around with their handmade team signs. They also lined the start line and collected high-fives from the passing riders. Even photographers like myself got in on the action as, in the end, the students didn't seem to care who they were cheering or collecting autographs from.

IMG_1151 IMG_0854 IMG_0833 IMG_1110

IMG_1179 IMG_1170

IMG_1150 IMG_1182

Slipstream bikes and Levi's new National Champ bike:

IMG_1085 IMG_0825

Stage 4 Photo Gallery

September 13, 2007

Best Young Rider

IMG_1040 Copy of IMG_1042 IMG_1043

Steven Cozza showed his Best Young Rider status -- and new mustache -- on the podium after the Branson Time Trial. One of the podium girls was trying to get him to lean forward so they could do the traditional double-cheek kiss. Cozza stood there somewhat confused. She prodded him again. This time he turned to try and kiss the one of the women on the lips. Chastised, he finally managed the double-cheek kiss.

Tour of Missouri Stage 3: Levi wins, Hincapie defends

Levi Leipheimer
Photo by Ken Conley

Levi Leipheimer Alberto Contador George Hincapie

Alberto Contador

Stage 3 Photo Gallery

I took many photos of riders on the road, except of George Hincapie -- I managed to bump the manual focus switch on my camera as I raised it for the shot, leaving me to only get the one you see above. I tried to get another shot of Hincapie and Levi as they drafted the back of my car on the descent from the finish line, but driving and no-looks photography don't mix. Levi himself was difficult to photograph, in that he showed up 'early' due to the fact that he passed six riders on the road.

I don't have too much to say about the race itself. Most of the details were filled in as I watched the award ceremonies and attended the press conferences. Levi did say that it wasn't his best time trial, so he was happy to win anyway. Hincapie was a bit tired from the break yesterday and was simply happy to have beaten his breakaway companions.

Levi Leipheimer

September 12, 2007

Tour of Missouri Stage 2: Hincapie takes stage, possibly ToM

George Hincapie won the final sprint from a breakaway group of 12. With a gap of over 14 minutes on the rest of the peloton, it seems fairly certain that Hincapie will take the overall -- there's no Brasstown Bald's in this state. That's not to say that the Tour of Missouri is flat. Having spent much of today driving from Kansas City to Springfield, I can attest to the fact that there is nothing flat about this state. Rather, it is... rolling, with lots of roadkill armadillos. Personally, I would be driven mad riding up and down for 120 miles past roadkill.

I hate to see a game-over stage happen so early, much like occurred in this year's Tour de Georgia, but with most of the other teams represented in the break, it seemed a given that the stage was theirs to contest. That said, I'm surprised the other riders let Hincapie up there with them. Once I heard he was in the break, I figured it was his stage for the taking.

Update: I just read on VeloNews that a dead armadillo caused a crash and broken collarbone for BMC rider Dan Schmatz. I wasn't kidding about the large quantities of dead armadillos folks.

September 11, 2007

Tour of Missouri Stage 1: Ivan Dominguez takes the sprint

Ivan Dominguez has had plenty of first-place finishes racing in the US this year, including Stage 7 of the Tour of California. He can now add the inaugural stage of the Tour of Missouri to that tally.

Tour of Missouri begins


My on-the-scene coverage won't start until Thursday -- I will be in flight during tomorrow's stage -- but here are some links to get you started with the Tour of Missouri, aka Discovery Channel's swan song.

August 22, 2007

Tour of Missouri planning

I went ahead and booked a one-way ticket to Kansas City to watch stage 3-6 of the Tour of Missouri. I haven't put much thought into this, but I figured that this was Discovery's last hurrah and perhaps my last chance to photograph riders like Popovych and Contador. I'm also hoping that some other American riders jump in on the USA team -- Fast Freddie was at the ToM announcement and I've seen him race this way before. The Tour of California started off the year well and the Tour of Missouri should be a good way to taper into the offseason.

Over on my blog I've posted my begging for lodging and schedule.