Zabriskie is 2009 Tour of Missouri bike race champion

Lots of congratulations are in order at the close of this third Tour of Missouri.

First, congrats to Dave Zabriskie for winning his first stage race in his 11-year career.

The Garmin-Slipstream individual time trial specialist can add the championship to his many other accomplishments. Those include stage wins in all three Grands Tours, a yellow jersey at the Tour de France, and four-straight National Time Trial championships.

In a race that saw the peloton finish intact on all the road stages, Zabriskie won decisively by beating his closest rivals by 30 seconds in the Stage 5 individual time trial around Sedalia on Thursday.

At the Garmin website, Zabriskie said he was proud of his teammates:

“They proved they have what it takes under unrelenting pressure. I’m
especially proud because it was an all American race won by an all
American team, many of whom were part of our original TIAA-CREF
development squad. It not only shows the depth of our current program
with Garmin, it shows that the investment we’ve made to bring up
American riders is paying off.”

It's the second straight championship at Missouri for the Garmin team. Christian Vande Velde, who had to abandon after crashing in Stage 1, was the defending champion. George Hincapie, now riding for Columbia, won the first Tour of Missouri in 2007.

Congrats to Martin Gilbert. A member of the last team to enter, Planet Energy of Canada, Gilbert out-rode Thor Hushovd and Andrew Pinfold to win the sprint in Sunday's final stage, a 72-mile circuit race around Kansas City.

Congratulations to Norway's Hushovd, however, for winning the points competition with 76 sprint points. His nearest rival was Martin, with 32.

Ditto to Team Type I's Moises Aldape for winning the climbing competition and Dario Cataldo of Quick Step for winning the best young rider competition. Best team went to Saxo Bank, followed by Bissell then Garmin Slipstream.

Finally, congratulations to the Tour of Missouri for presenting another great stage race. Let's hope a corporation comes forward to sponsor the Tour in its fourth year in 2010, so funding the race can stop being a political hot potato every year.

(For more on that topic see VeloNews, “Missouri 2010 needs private money to augment public funding”)

Top 10 overall

1. David Zabriskie, USA, Garmin
2. Gustav Larsson, Sweden, Team Saxo Bank — 30 seconds
3. Marco Pinotti, Italy, Team Columbia — 42 seconds
4. Tom Zirbel, USA, Bissell — 44 seconds
5. Dario Cataldo, Italy, Quick Step — 1:02
6. Levi Leipheimer, USA, Astana — 1:09
7. Ben Jacques-Maynes, USA, Bissell — 1:13
8. Dominique Cornu, Belgium, Quick Step — 1:15
9. Lars Ytting Bak, Denmark, Saxo Bank — 1:16
10. Rory Sutherland, Australia, OUCH — 1:22

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