The first four teams for the third Tour of Missouri were announced today: three returning ProTour teams Garmin-Slipstream, Columbia-High Road and Liquigas and the Pro Continental Cervélo Test Team.
Garmin-Slipstream is expected to field a top team that will include 2008 Tour of Missouri Race Champion Christian Vande Velde.
The overall course for the 7-stage race, scheduled for September 7-13, 2009, will take on a very different slant in 2009. For the first time, the race will route east to west, starting in St. Louis and finishing in Kansas City. The past two years, the race routed west to east starting in Kansas City to finish in St. Louis.
A total of 15 teams participated in the 2008 edition of the race which had a UCI 2.1 rating: Garmin-Chipotle, Liquigas, High Road, American teams BMC, HealthNet p/b Maxxis, Rock Racing, Bissell, Colavita Sutter Home p/b Cooking Light , Jelly Belly , and Kelly Benefits Strategies-Medifast and Toyota-United. Also present were Mexico’s top professional team Tecos and Canada’s best squad Symmetrics, along with top European continental squads from Rabobank of the Netherlands and Sparkasse of Germany.
With its upgrade to the 2.HC ranking, the 2009 edition should bring in more ProTour teams to the event, up to a maximum half of the number of teams as per the UCI rules. Additional teams will be announced in coming weeks.
update: Astana has also been announced, making it 5 Pro Tour teams.