|Tour of Hermann riders begin the ascent to Stone Hill Winery.|
By Jim Grebing
Director of Tourism
Cyclists from 10 states will gather in Hermann this weekend (April 9-10) for the 4th Annual Tour of Hermann, which is becoming one of the premiere events of its kind in the Midwest. The Tour of Hermann is well known for its challenging courses through Hermann Wine Country and the overall quality of the event. Hermann's Jeff Yielding, who coordinates the event, has assembled a talented committee to plan and direct the event and a great group of volunteers to ensure the safety of riders as they travel area roads.
Approximately 300 athletes are expected, representing Missouri, Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Oklahoma, Kansas, Arkansas, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin. Some riders have already been to Hermann the past few weeks testing out the routes of the three stages, creating a buzz about the upcoming Tour of Hermann. Participants will begin arriving Friday afternoon to register and by Saturday morning the town will be full of cyclists, their support teams and fans. Not only is the presence of 300 riders quite a spectacle, the three stages also offer an opportunity to see top athletes competing on challenging race courses.
The best event for spectators is the Stage 2 Criterium, which is seven different races between 11:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. Saturday along a 1.2 mile course through Hermann's residential streets with a hilltop finish at Stone Hill Winery, the major sponsor of the Tour of Hermann. The course starts at the winery and runs along Stone Hill Highway to west 8th Street, to Washington Street, to West 9th, to Goethe, and across 12th Street to the climb up to Stone Hill. Races will last from seven laps to 19 laps for the Men PRO/ 1/2, which is the final race of the day at 4:40 p.m.
Earlier Saturday the Stage 1 Time Trial will run on a new 14 mile course -- 7 miles out and 7 miles back -- on the rolling hills of Highway 100, west of Hermann. This stage will start at Hermann High School on Highway 100 and riders will take off in 30 second intervals between 8 and 10:15 a.m.
Sunday's Stage 3 will be a Road Race through the hilly Hermann Countryside covering 30 miles. Some categories of riders will do one lap, some two laps, and the Men PRO 12 will cover three laps. Starts will be from 10:30 - 11:10 a.m. and the course begins with a neutral one mile route through Downtown Hermann, offering the best viewing opportunity for spectators. This stage starts at 4th and Gutenberg Streets, by the Hermann Amphitheater. The course will leave Hermann along Highway H toward Stony Hill and then follow along Highways E and VV and then finish up on Highway 100 back into town.
One new feature this year for support crews and spectators is that live music will be featured at the amphitheater throughout the hours of the Road Race, featuring the Bluff-tones, a group of talented local performers. There is no charge for the music and it is open to anyone; bring a blanket or lawn chair.
Take some time to enjoy the Tour of Hermann this weekend. You will be amazed at the quality of the athletes displaying their talents. Some of the top cyclists in the Midwest will be here. Hopefully this event will continue to grow and become one of the many things Hermann is known for.
Cycling is a big part of Hermann's tourism efforts; on most days you will see bicycles throughout town. Events like the Tour of Hermann in April, the Hermann Cross in September, and our proximity to the Katy Trail, make Hermann a great destination for cyclists with all levels of experience. Cyclists also spend a lot of money in Hermann at our shops, restaurants and wineries, and many stay overnight in our wonderful lodging places. This is just one of many things that makes Hermann a special place to visit and live.