Astana confirms cyclists for Tour of Missouri — official race site

    • Filled in News in English 31 Август 2009 в 11:06, author: KazakhNeRider
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    Current World's No. 1-ranked Team Astana Confirms Top American Levi Leipheimer and 2007 Tour de Georgia winner Janez Brajkovic for upcoming Tour of Missouri
    JEFFERSON CITY, MO (August 28, 2009) --- The world's No. - 1 ranked team Astana has named three-time Amgen Tour of California winner Levi Leipheimer of Santa Rosa, Calif., and 2007 Tour de Georgia winner and former junior world champion Janez Brajkovic of Slovenia to headline a powerful line-up for the upcoming Tour of Missouri, scheduled for September 7 - 13, 2009.

    "I'm still recovering from my broken wrist suffered in the Tour de France, but anytime I have the opportunity to line-up for a race of this caliber in my own country, I'm going to make my best effort to participate," said Leipheimer, who was positioned in the top five overall in the Tour de France when he crashed. "Since I haven't raced in over a month, it's hard to give an assessment of my form, but I know our entire team is very excited and motivated for this race."

    In addition to Leipheimer and Brajkovic, Astana's roster includes: Steve Morabito, Andrey Zeits, Sergey Renev; plus team-winning Tour de France performers and strongmen Gregory Rast, the 2007 Tour of Luxembourg winner and stage winner (team time trial) of this year's Tour de France, Dmitri Muravyev, a three-time Kazakhstan National Champion in the time trial and Yaroslav Popovych, who is a podium finisher at the Tour of Italy and former stage winner of the Tour de France and America's Tour de Georgia. The team will be directed by Viatcheslav Ekimov, a thirteen-time Tour de France participant, Olympic gold medalist and winner of numerous major pro races in his career including the 1994 Tour DuPont, then America's top race.

    Leipheimer raced in the first Tour of Missouri in 2007 as part of the Discovery Channel team. Brajkovic recently was crowned Slovenian national champion in the time trial.

    "Personally, I'm also looking forward to seeing how the race has grown since my last participation," added Leipheimer. "This is the Tour of Missouri's third year and I believe it's another indication we need more races at this level in this country."

    "We're very excited Levi has chosen to participate this year. He is one of the world's super stars in the sport. Being his first race back should be great for everyone,” said Jim Birrell the Tour of Missouri’s race director. "This is the No. 1-ranked team in the world. And, though Lance Armstrong and Alberto Cantador are not on their roster, it's a very, very good and talented team. The fact that half the team rode on the winning Tour de France team is a testament to the quality of team they are sending to the Tour of Missouri. We're glad to welcome the top-ranked team to the United States.”

    The race begins in St. Louis on Monday, September 7, Labor Day, with a 10-lap, 75-mile circuit race that will be fast and flat and favor a sprinter taking the leader’s jersey. On Tuesday, September 8, the race will transfer south to Ste. Genevieve with a 112.4-mile road race to Cape Girardeau. The terrain is hilly to moderate and features finishing circuits.

    On Wednesday, September 9, cyclists will face their toughest challenge of the race, with a hilly 114.3-mile stage in the Northern Ozark Mountains from Farmington to Rolla. After a short transfer on Thursday, September 10, the race will proceed from St. James to Jefferson City, with the circuit finish featuring a steep 300-meter uphill sprint to the finish.

    Riders will be able make up time Friday, September 11, during the individual time trial at Sedalia with a 19-mile race against the clock around Missouri’s State Fairgrounds. On Saturday, September 12, cyclists will race from Chillicothe to St. Joseph while hitting moderate to hilly terrain.

    The weeklong journey through the Show-Me-State concludes with a hilly circuit through the streets of Kansas City, Sunday, September 13. The Kansas City circuit will feature two king of the mountain points with more than 2,000 feet of climbing over 72 miles.

    The upgrade has drawn top pro tour teams Astana, Cervélo TestTeam, Columbia- HTC, Garmin- Slipstream, Liquigas, Saxo Bank and Quickstep, all recent Tour de France teams, of which won 14 of 21 stages of the world’s biggest race. Domestic teams participating in 2009 include BISSELL Pro Cycling Team, BMC Racing, Colovita / Sutter Home presented by Cooking Light, Jelly Belly, Kelly Benefit Strategies, OUCH presented by Maxxis, and Team Type 1. Canada’s top team Planet Energy rounds out the field.

    Previously announced were superstars of the sport, including: 2008 Tour of Missouri winner Christian Vandevelde, four-time U.S. National Champion in the time trial David Zabriskie and 2007 Tour of Missouri stage winner Danny Pate, all of team Garmin-Slipstream; Britain's Mark Cavendish, a 10-time Tour de France stage winner and widely considered the world's best sprinter; 2007 Tour of Missouri champion George Hincapie; three-time world champion and 2008 Tour of Missouri second place overall finisher Mick Rogers of Australia, all of team Columbia-HTC; Norway's Thor Hushovd, the sprint jersey winner of this year's Tour de France and Cervelo TestTeam member Heinrich Haussler, a stage winner at the this year's Tour de France; Italy's Franco Pellizotti of the Liquigas-Cannondale team, the 2009 Tour de France KOM Champion and Australia's Rory Sutherland, the top-ranked rider on the domestic circuit and teammate Floyd Landis, the winner of both the Amgen Tour of California and Tour de Georgia of Team OUCH; team Saxo Bank's Jens Voigt, former two-time Tour of Germany champion and multiple Tour de France stage winner and teammate J.J. Haedo, the winner of more stages at major American races than anyone the past four years. All rosters will be released next week.

    The race will be contested over seven days and seven stages. There will be 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 race is sanctioned by USA Cycling and UCI, the international governing body for the sport.

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