The third, and final, Tour of Missouri in 2009.
Next week marks the start of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge, a.k.a. the race Colorado gained and Missouri lost
following a political pissing match
last year between Governor Jay Nixon and Lt. Governor Peter Kinder.
During its three-year run from 2007 through 2009, the Tour of Missouri attracted some of the world's elite riders for a six-day ride through the state. But the late-August race through Missouri has nothing on its replacement.
Last week, organizers of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge announced that the top three finishers
from last month's Tour de France (Cadel Evans and the brothers Andy and Franck Schleck) will compete in their race beginning August 22. Those riders join other superstars of the sport including Levi Leipheimer, Christian Vande Velde, and George Hincapie (the 2008 Tour of Missouri winner).
Of course, Colorado does have many things Missouri never had -- mountains, a major corporate sponsor in Quiznos and the initial backing of Lance Armstrong, who helped found the Colorado race
before going underground recently amid allegations of using performance-enhancing drugs.
Still, the race was Missouri's to lose.
In withholding $1.5 million in state funds used to finance the tour, Missouri lost as much as $30 million in statewide spending
generated from the race. It's unlikely, though, that Governor Nixon ever lost much sleep over the state losing the race. Check out this link of the governor torturedly delivering a joke
at the expense of Tour of Missouri.
Our guess is that Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper is the one laughing now.