Zabriskie Wins 2009 Tour Of Missouri

Final Team Invited Becomes First to Cross K.C. Finish at Stage 7 In 2009 Tour of Missouri

Overall Tour Title Stays With Garmin-Slipstream

KANSAS CITY, MO (September 13, 2009) – It was more than just an advancing cold front that raced into the Midwest today, as Canadian Martin Gilbert (Planet Energy) sprinted to the line in front of countryman Andrew Pinfold (OUCH p/b Maxxis) for victory in Stage 7, presented by Cerner. Norway’s Thor Hushovd (Cervelo Test Team) finished third, his sixth trip to the podium in seven days at this week’s Tour of Missouri. The winning time of Stage 7 was 2 hours, 33 minutes, 11 seconds.

In a city referred to as the “Paris of the Plains”, the American-based Garmin-Slipstream came away with the overall prize at the champagne stage of the 2009 Tour of Missouri, with their American time trial specialist Dave Zabriskie retaining the Missouri Tourism Race Leader’s Jersey.

“My guys, they’re gonna get some big hugs from me tonight. I really appreciate what they did for me. The last two days…that’s why they call it a team sport,” added Zabriskie, who adorned the Missouri Tourism Leader’s jersey on Friday after winning the individual time trial in Sedalia.

In the 2009 general classification, Denmark’s Gustav Larsson (Saxo Bank) finished second overall, 30 seconds behind Zabriskie. The third overall spot was taken in the final stage by Marco Pinotti (Columbia-HTC), finishing 41 seconds back. With points taken at the Edward Jones Sprint line today, Pinotti gained the extra two seconds he needed to overtake third place from American Tom Zirbel (Bissell Pro Cycling), who finished fourth and one second behind the Italian.

Of the 112 competitors who started Stage 7, presented by Cerner, 95 finished and completed another high-tempo day with an average speed of 28 miles per hour (45 km.h).

“I think, all week we had few opportunities for the sprint, we always finished close to the podium. Today we took it a different way, really, by the back (we) used the momentum of the hill (to the finish), no mistakes today. We put it together,” said Gilbert, a Quebec native who won the 2007 USPro Criterium Championship. His Planet Energy Canadian team accepted the 15th and final spot into this year’s Tour of Missouri just one month ago. “It’s really nice of the team to be invited to as big a race as here, a first year team. For sure, I think the team got in this race by the back door, kind of. We weren’t supposed to be here at the beginning. We are really happy with the sprint today.”

The grand finale of the 2009 Tour of Missouri, Stage 7, presented by Cerner, started at 2:00 p.m. under overcast, breezy weather conditions with thousands of enthusiastic fans lining almost every mile of the 10.2-mile (16.4km) circuit course in Kansas City. The peloton made seven laps for a total of 71.4 miles (114.9 km) on this new finishing course, based in the Crown Center area of Kansas City. Race fans congregated near Union Station at the start/finish, in the revitalized K.C. Power & Light District at the Edward Jones Sprint Line, and at the two Michelob Ultra KOMs. The first KOM on Kessler Road was marked by The Liberty Memorial, which houses the National World War I Museum, and the other at Summit Street provided a panoramic view of downtown Kansas City.

Three riders made the first successful break of the day 15 miles into the race, Danish rider Nicki Sorensen (Saxo Bank), American Christopher Jones (Team Type 1), and Swiss rider Gregory Rast (Astana). On the fourth lap in K.C., Iowa-native Jason McCartney (Saxo Bank) and Danish teammate Chris Anker Sorensen bridged the gap from the peloton to help their teammate. A sixth rider joined the break on Lap 5, Canadian Michael Barry (Columbia-HTC), who was awarded the Drury Hotels Most Aggressive Rider jersey. This group built a lead of 45 seconds, but was caught on the final circuit. From there, Garmin-Slipstream and Cervelo Test Team had to reel in a solo break by Aussie Michael Rogers (Columbia-HTC) and this set up a bunch sprint for the final stage.

“We were able to hit new cities, go to new parts of the state this year. And now that many more people know that professional cycling is exciting, and what a great opportunity it is to showcase our state. Work begins in the morning to bring back the 2010 Tour of Missouri,” stated Missouri Lt. Governor Peter Kinder. “Today was just an absolute blowout crowd.”

In the final award jersey presentations for the week, Hushovd won the Edward Jones Sprint jersey, Dario Cataldo (QuickStep) of Italy won the 180 Energy/ Icelandic Glacial Water Best Young Rider jersey, and Moises Aldape (Team Type I) of Mexico won the Michelob Ultra KOM jersey. Team Saxo Bank was recognized as the Best Team. The 2008 Tour of Missouri champion Christian Vande Velde had to withdraw from the race on Stage 2 because of a broken bone in his right hand, suffered in a Stage 1 crash.

“I’m very proud of Dave (Zabriskie) and the team for what they accomplished this week – the Tour of Missouri looked very hard again this year. It was important for me to come back and watch with the guys,” said Vande Velde, who returned to the Tour Sunday to support his team. “The crowds and the support were amazing. It was great to watch the team win from the other side of the fence.”

For the first time since its inaugural year in 2007, the 2009 Tour of Missouri moved across the state from east to west, starting in St. Louis and finishing in Kansas City. This year’s Tour included two circuit races (St. Louis, Kansas City), one individual time trial (Sedalia), and four point to point road races (Ste. Genevieve to Cape Girardeau; Farmington to Rolla; St. James to Jefferson City; Chillicothe to St. Joseph). The overall mileage for the course was 612 miles.

Photo by John Pierce – Photosport International