For two days, the Tour of Missouri featured 120 cyclists racing each other for the yellow jersey. But stage three brought in another opponent, time.
Jim Birrell/Tour of Missouri Race Director:"Today it's an individual race, a race against the clock. So there's no tactics that can play out. It's you against everybody else."
The Branson time trial started at the landing, where the cyclists left in minute intervals. After leaving the starting gate, the riders raced out of the landing onto Highway 65 before merging onto the Branson Highroad.
The stage is only 18 miles, but it presented numerous climbs up the many Ozark hills. The race against the clock finished at Shepherd of the Hills.
Current United States Pro Champion Levi Leipheimer set the early pace, passing six other racers and covering the route in 39 minutes and 37 seconds.
George Hincapie won stage two, and wears the yellow jersey of the overall leader. As the first place cyclist, Hincapie was the last one on the course.
Hincapie is a teammate of Leipheimer on the Discovery Channel team. And both are world class time trial experts.
Hincapie had a two fold strategy for stage three. Ride as fast as he could, but at the same time protect the yellow jersey and the overall lead for the remainder of the Tour of Missouri. Hincapie finished the time trail in 41 minutes and 48 seconds.
That left his teammate Liepheimer as the time trial winner. Hincape finished sixth, but it keeps the yellow jersey on his back for Friday's stage four which is a 133 mile road race from Lebanon to Columbia, the tour concludes Sunday in St. Louis.