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Politics Threaten Missouri Bike Race Funding
Juan José Haedo, Tour of Missouri 2009, Stage 5, Time Trial in Sedalia

Organizers have kicked off a fundraising campaign for this year’s Tour of Missouri bicycle race despite questions over funding the event at the state level.

Although the cross-state professional bicycle race has been a success, drawing 1.2 million spectators to see some of the world’s top bicyclists, the race has been the subject over political infighting and has faced threats of having its state funds cut off.

“Like the Tour de France, this event has transformed Missouri into a tourist destination by showcasing the sights and sounds of Missouri to the world. And best of all, it’s been a free public event that all walks of life have enjoyed,” said Mike Weiss, president of the Missouri Bicycle Racing Association. “There is still debate at the state level for support of this event.

“We need continued state, and even general public support outside the realms of traditional corporate support, to continue this race,” added Weiss. “It’s essential for not only the event’s success but viability.”

Organizers say the economic impact on Missouri has been measured at more than $75 million over the past three years. More than 30 cities have played host to the event and derived international recognition from the event. This year’s race is scheduled for Aug. 31st to Sept. 6th

"I have talked with leaders of cities across the who have hosted the Tour, who have seen how it brings communities together and really improves a city's quality of life," said Brent Hugh, executive director of the Missouri Bicycle & Pedestrian Federation. "The Tour is like a big community celebration and its health and wellness focus has inspired people across the state to get out and improve their fitness while enjoying Missouri's great outdoors."

Racing fans can express their support for the race at www.facebook.com/tourofmissouri or donate on-line at www.tourofmissouri.com.

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