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Tour of Missouri - 2.1

USA, September 11-16, 2007

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Stage 1 - September 11: Kansas City - Kansas City, 137 km

Complete live report

By Sue George, Mark Zalewski and Kirsten Robbins

13:48 EDT    Good afternoon. We're in the process of firing up the blimp here in Missouri as we get ready to bring you live coverage of the first stage of the inaugural Tour of Missouri. The start is scheduled to happen in about 15 minutes.

13:56 EDT    It's sunny and 18 degrees Celsius (64 degrees Fahrenheit). Wind is negligible here in Kansas City at the start. There is no neutral.

14:00 EDT    There are good crowds today. Perhaps some are taking a late lunch to enjoy the start? It's worth coming out to watch. Racers will start and finish at the same place, plus at the end of the race, they'll complete five circuits passing through the start finish.

14:01 EDT    The race is starting. What we said earlier about the start wasn't correct - there is a one mile neutral section after all. The peloton will cover 137 km (85.2 miles).

14:04 EDT    They've completed the neutral section, and the race is officially started.

14:05 EDT    As we saw earlier this year at the Tour de Georgia in April, the school children are getting a break from class to watch.

14:09 EDT    2km/135km to go The race has started at a leisurely pace (20 mph / 32.2 kph). They're headed down Main Street, a wide six-lane road and will pass a World War II Memorial.

14:11 EDT    They're riding downhill toward Kansas City's centers. Office works have emerged from their cubicles to watch the riders pass. Passing the World War II memorial seems somehow appropriate - a reminder of conflicts past on this day, the anniversary of September 11 terrorist attacks in New York, Pennsylvania, and Washington, DC.

14:12 EDT    Pete Lopinto (Kodak Gallery-Sierra Nevada) launches an attack. The pace is clearly picking up.

14:13 EDT    8km/129km to go The group is all back together. Navigators and BMC are at the front. They are descending to the river.

14:15 EDT    A break of four briefly escaped but they were quickly caught: Bernardo Colex Tepoz (Tecos de la Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara), Glen Chadwick (Navigators Insurance Cycling Team), Jackson Stewart (BMC Professional Cycling Team), and Sheldon Deeny (US National Development Team).

14:17 EDT    12km/125km to go Aussie Glen Chadwick gets back off the front, but he is caught, and the peloton is all together again. Toyota United did the work to cover Chadwick. Chadwick certainly made a mark at the Tour of Georgia by spending some time off the front.

14:20 EDT    Timo Honstein (Team Sparkasse) attacks. No one chases, but he is sitting up. As a first-year race, no one really knows what to expect. The stages are unfamiliar to the riders, and there is no historical precedent for how the race might unfold.

14:22 EDT    15km/122km to go Christopher Baldwin (Toyota - United Pro Cycling Team) had a rear flat. The bunch is set up for some flat riding. In fact, they're racing on a interstate-like road now. They'll be setting up for the first sprint, coming up at 24.1km.

14:24 EDT    Team Sparkasse makes a second attack. This time it's German Stefan Parinussa. He's up to 13 seconds. Fortunately, Baldwin has already caught back on after a wheel change.

14:25 EDT    Raul Alarcon (Saunier Duval - Prodir) and Daniel Vaillancourt (Colavita - Sutter Home p/b Cooking Light) have bridged up.

14:25 EDT    But two other riders try to close the gap and only succeed in bringing the field with them, so the bunch is all together again.

14:27 EDT    Toyota-United rider Ivan Dominguez predicted, "I think the wind will play a major factor in the race today." When Dominguez spoke with Kirsten Robbins before the start, he said there were no real significant climbs. "My team is hoping for a field sprint. I know there are some good sprinters here that I haven't raced against before: Mattia Gavazzi and John Fredy Parra are both good. But I am most worried about Luciano Pagliarini from Saunier Duval, he is usually a very strong sprinter."

14:28 EDT    19km/118km to go Navigators and Slipstream are on the front as the pack gets the 5km to go until the sprint signal. The bunch is off the interstate, but still on a major highway.

14:31 EDT    Going into the sprint in Parkville, the US National Development Team is leading.

14:33 EDT    Michael Friedman (Team Slipstream p/b Chipotle is at the front) with 200m until the line. The sprint spot has good crowds. Two riders flat.

14:35 EDT    24km/113km to go After the sprint, there are some hard turns and an uphill. Results from the first sprint are: 1 Luciano André Pagliarini Mendonca (Saunier Duval - Prodir) 2 Brad Huff (Team Slipstream p/b Chipotle) 3 Charles Dionne (Colavita - Sutter Home p/b Cooking Light) There are only five kilometers to go until the first KOM of the race and the only KOM for today.

14:37 EDT    Looks like the view from our blimp was slightly obscured. The actual results of the first sprint were: 1 Luciano André Pagliarini Mendonca (Saunier Duval - Prodir) 2 Charles Dionne (Colavita - Sutter Home p/b Cooking Light) 3 Brad Huff (Team Slipstream p/b Chipotle) There are lots of counter attacks happening now.

14:39 EDT    The terrain is rolling, but mostly uphill. Three riders briefly escaped but were caught. Christian Lademann (Team Sparkasse) attacks. Meanwhile Dominique Rollin (Kodakgallery.com - Sierra Nevada) flats.

14:41 EDT    Lademann is caught. Darren Lill (Navigators Insurance Cycling Team) counters, leading to six at the front, with the KOM rapidly approaching. They're still on rolling hills, with a general uphill going into the final 200m.

14:43 EDT    The peloton is back together again. Soon after the KOM, the racers will head to the towns of Farley and the Beverly.

14:45 EDT    30km/107km to go KOM results: 1 Jeff Louder (Health Net p/b Maxxis) 2 Darren Lill (Navigators Insurance Cycling Team) 3 Rubens Bertogliati (Saunier Duval - Prodir) 4 Jesse Anthony (Kodakgallery.com - Sierra Nevada) 5 David Vitoria (BMC Professional Cycling Team)

14:47 EDT    Dominique Rollin (Kodakgallery.com - Sierra Nevada) is back in the field now after his flat. He said earlier today, "We don't know what is going to happen at this race. So today we are going to watch for breakaways, and then I will try to sprint if there is a field sprint. We want to try to be aggressive today to make some of the other teams legs tired." Fortunately, it looks like he'll still get a chance to do so.

14:49 EDT    Ben Raby (Kodakgallery.com - Sierra Nevada) gets a bike change while Sergey Lagutin (Navigators Insurance Cycling Team) attacks. Three try to bridge, but they're coming back together on these rolling hills.

14:50 EDT    Gregorio Ladino (Tecos de la Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara) attacks.

14:53 EDT    Ladino is up to 15 seconds. Two riders are bridging: Davide Frattini (Colavita - Sutter Home p/b Cooking Light) and Frank Pipp (Health Net p/b Maxxis).

14:56 EDT    40km/97km to go The peloton is all back together again.

14:58 EDT    A group of five escapes: Philipp Mamos (Team Sparkasse), Tyler Wren (Colavita - Sutter Home p/b Cooking Light), James Meadley (Jelly Belly), Tim Johnson (Health Net p/b Maxxis), Valery Kobzarenko (Navigators). They are rapidly gaining 25 seconds.

14:59 EDT    Good thing there aren't any Discovery team riders in that bunch. Looks like one of their cars has broken down. Oops. The terrain is very flat and open right now, but it's not too windy.

15:00 EDT    Our five-man break has 45 seconds. The main pack stops for a nature break - that'll help the gap grow.

15:06 EDT    45km/92km to go Levi Leipheimer (Discovery Channel) appears to have had a mechanical. The gap to our five leaders is up to 1 minute. One rider is bridging: Jackson Stewart (BMC). We'll see if he can catch them.

15:10 EDT    50km/87km to go The gap is up to 1:45. The pack is absolutely creeping along at whopping 14 mph.

15:14 EDT    51.5km/85.5km to go The leaders are going 26 mph. They're riding along a long flat road next to tobacco fields. Next to the road is a railroad, with a rail work truck on it that's actually keeping up with the break.

15:18 EDT    Today's course is like a lollipop. It's got and out and back from and to Kansas City. At the end of the "stick" is a loop organizers are calling the "outer loop". We're on the outer loop now, near Beverly and on the way to Tracey. From there, we'll head to Platte City, where the next sprint will be contested at 62.0 km.

15:23 EDT    57km/80km to go It's not surprising to find Tim Johnson (Health Net p/b Maxxis), one of the break riders, in the front group. It's often his job for the team to make moves like this. There are 5km remaining until the second sprint. It'll come just 2km before the feedzone.

15:26 EDT    Although there are five leaders and a chaser off the front, it's quite likely the peloton will chase them down before it's all over. Many riders said they were expecting a sprint finish. Tecos is just one of the teams that will be gunning for a stage win. Before the start today, John Freddy Parra Celada (Tecos) said, "I am the designated sprinter for this stage race. We have trained really hard for this race and hope to do well here. We just came from racing at the Univest Grand Prix where I was pleased and had a good ride. I think we are prepared."

15:27 EDT    Jackson Stewart (BMC), the man caught out solo between the break and the peloton, appears to be sitting up. Rumor has it that there are cheerleaders at the next sprint line.

15:32 EDT    62km/75km to go Sprint #2 results: 1 James Meadley (Jelly Belly) 2 Philipp Mamos (Team Sparkasse) 3 Valery Kobzarenko (Navigators) Two more riders are getting a bike change. We don't know why there have been so many bike changes and flats today. Maybe the mechanics are getting tired after a long season? Keeping a team's bikes running well is no easy task.

15:33 EDT    67km/70km to go Jackson Stewart (BMC) is caught by the peloton. The gap to our five man break sits at 4:20.

15:38 EDT    64.3km/72.7km to go The peloton is passing through the feed zone. Then it's on to Riveside as they complete the loop and head back to Kansas City. There are no more sprints or KOMs for today.

15:47 EDT    The Discovery Channel team has picked up the pace following the feed zone. Their efforts are being supplemented by Toyota United and Colavita. As a result, the gap is shrinking somewhat. It's down to five minutes.

15:52 EDT    Valery Kobzarenko (Navigators) is one of the break riders. Before the start, his team-mate told Cyclingnews. "Ben Day and I have been riding really strong and will be trying for the GC this week. We are hoping for an aggressive race today with some significant breakaways." Looks like his prediction has come true. It'll be interesting to see how long this break lasts.

15:54 EDT    80km/57km to go The riders will tackle three finishing circuits upon returning to Kansas City, not five as we previously mentioned. Each circuit will cover about five miles (8km).

16:02 EDT    While these guys are racing today, many of their counterparts in Europe are getting a break in the form of a rest day at the Vuelta a España. If you need to get caught up on the first ten stages of the Vuelta, read the rest day wrap. Of course, not everyone is having an easy day. The ProTour Tour of Poland and the Tour of Britain are both on today while the young riders are racing at the Tour de l'Avenir with their national teams.

16:06 EDT    90km/47km to go Riders were serenaded by a marching band as they passed through Parkville. The gap is down a bit more to four minutes and 20 seconds. That's largely thanks to Discovery who is driving the chase. However, the five leaders are continuing to work well together at the front.

16:11 EDT    95km/42km to go The overall course is well suited to George Hincapie (Discovery Channel), so his team is likely working with him in mind. Of course, if things don't work out with Hincapie, the team can always fall back on Tour de France winner Alberto Contador or third place Levi Leipheimer. The gap is down to 4 minutes.

16:17 EDT    There's a disparity in paces between break riders and the peloton. The break is holding steady at 26 mph (41.84 km/h) while the peloton is chasing at 40 mph (64.3 km/h). That should bring down the gap some more. It's already down to 3 minutes and 45 seconds.

16:18 EDT    101km/36km to go Saunier Duval - Prodir's director sportif, Matteo Algeri, is among those who went on record predicting today will end in a field sprint. He told Cyclingnews, "I think that the first and the last stages will be field sprints. We are pleased with Luciano Pagliarini, and David Canada is also riding really strong. We do not have the strongest team here so we will not be controlling the race this week. We will be conservative, go into breakaways if they happen and work for our sprinters in the end."

16:20 EDT    103km/34km to go Riders are crossing the bridge to come back into downtown Kansas City. At 111.8km, they'll cross the finish and see 3 laps to go on the finishing circuit.

16:25 EDT    106km/31km to go The lead group of five may well last until the finishing circuits. They've still got a three minute gap.

16:27 EDT    The gap is still dropping. If the break is caught in time, look for sprinters like Ivan Dominguez (Toyota-United Pro) or Karl Menzies (Health Net-Maxxis) to go for the stage win. Team Slipstream moves to the front to drive the pace. Slipstream is working for Danny Pate. The finishing circuits will give racers a few chances to see the lead-up to the line, position themselves favorably, and plan their final sprints.

16:29 EDT    107.8km/29.2km to go There are 4 kilomters to go until the pack starts the finishing circuits. While it remains to be seen exactly how much of a role today's stage will play in the GC, others are looking toward the time trial. Christopher Baldwin (Toyota-United Pro), who flatted earlier, said "I think the time trial will be a deciding factor in the GC. I haven't taken a look at it yet, but Nathan O'Neil told me that it was very rolling, suited for me."

16:30 EDT    110km/27km to go The gap is down to 2 minutes and 10 seconds.

16:34 EDT    112km/25km to go The peloton has passed the finish and is onto the finishing circuits. Three to go.

16:37 EDT    115km/22km to go Slipstream is still driving the pace. They've brought the gap down to one minute and 30 seconds as the peloton races to catch the break.

16:41 EDT    116km/21km to go They're on the finishing circuits, which are more like laps of a circuit race than laps of a crit. There are nice crowds along the way. Gap is at 1.10.

16:42 EDT    The break riders are all still working. They're all taking turns pulling although a few of them are looking rather tired. Ivan Stevic (Toyota-United Pro) was among those helping Discovery and the others chase.

16:44 EDT    Valery Kobzarenko (Navigators) is on the front right now.

16:46 EDT    All five riders are still contributing. Clearly all of them are giving it their all. The gap is under one minute. Ivan Stevic (Toyota-United Pro) is still at the front of the peloton, and he's closely followed by several Discovery riders. Toyota is working for Ivan Dominguez (Toyota-United Pro). He's been on the podium for the last three races he's done.

16:47 EDT    Tim Johnson (Health Net p/b Maxxis) just attacked the break! Valery Kobzarenko (Navigators) went with him, splitting the break. Johnson is driving it. Kobzarenko is sitting on. Now he's pulling through.

16:49 EDT    Tyler Wren (Colavita - Sutter Home p/b Cooking Light) and James Meadley (Jelly Belly) are gone from the break. Philipp Mamos (Team Sparkasse) is sitting on while Tim Johnson (Health Net p/b Maxxis) and Valery Kobzarenko (Navigators) are working together.

16:49 EDT    127km/10km to go They'll get one circuit to go. The gap is 45 seconds.

16:50 EDT    Philipp Mamos (Team Sparkasse) is pulling through now although it looks like he's pretty tired. All three break riders are pulling through. Disco is chasing. Gap is 25 seconds.

16:52 EDT    Tim Johnson (Health Net p/b Maxxis) is pulling really hard at the front of the break, so his team is just sitting in the peloton, not having to do any work. That means team-mate Karl Menzies (Health Net-Maxxis) and his lead-out men are saving energy. You can see the peloton behind them, at 20 seconds or last. Johnson will try to keep the gap as long as possible to help Menzies.

16:53 EDT    Cooperation with the break seems to be disintegrating. Johnson flicked his elbow to encourage others to come through, but the other two aren't coming through.

16:54 EDT    The gap is six seconds. The remaining break riders will get caught. The sprinters are setting up for the end, but we may seem some flyers at the end

16:54 EDT    5 seconds separates the three leaders with one lap to go as they cross under the finish banner.

16:55 EDT    All three break riders have just been caught.

16:56 EDT    Eight riders of BMC are on the front. They've taken over Discovery Channel's position on the front. They'll be setting up Dan Schmatz, who's actually from here and will be wanting a win.

16:57 EDT    Behind BMC's eight riders is the Kodak / Sierra Nevada team and the Discovery Channel team.

16:59 EDT    132km/5km to go They're on the backside of the final circuit. Two riders are off the front.

17:00 EDT    George Hincapie (Discovery Channel) and Sergey Lagutin (Navigators) are off the front. They've got a 150 m gap. Lagutin initiated the move. This course is a good one for Hincapie.

17:01 EDT    BMC is chasing hard. Hincapie has been brought back. So has Lagutin.

17:02 EDT    115km/22km to go Team Slipstream has taken over at the front. They're setting up Brad Huff, who's also a local rider. Slipstream has five riders at the front. BMC is behind them.

17:03 EDT    134km/3km to go Christian Lademann (Team Sparkasse) is attacking at the front. He was in the Olympics and is a known pursuiter.

17:03 EDT    135km/2km to go Behind Lademann is the peloton. There is less than 3km to go. Now the group is all back together - Lademann was caught. Slipstream is driving it.

17:04 EDT    Slipstream has Schmatz sitting on. Behind them is the Healthnet team. The other teams seem to have expended themselves already. Behind Healthnet is Saunier Duval.

17:04 EDT    136km/1km to go One rider is trying to break away. It's Rory Sutherland. Saunier Duval is on the front.

17:05 EDT    Rory Sutherland (Health Net-Maxxis) is still off the front.

17:05 EDT    It's a sprint for the line.

17:06 EDT    Ivan Dominguez (Toyota-United Pro) takes the sprint.

17:06 EDT    Zach Bell (Symmetrics) was second.

17:15 EDT    It looks like Kyle Wamsley (USA) Navigators Insurance Cycling Team Navigators Insurance Cycling Team took third unofficially.

17:22 EDT    That wraps up today's live coverage. Stay tuned for full coverage, including results, report, and photos for Stage 1 coming soon. We'll be back tomorrow to cover Stage 2 live: 202 km from Clinton to Springfield. We hope you'll join us!

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