Oakland, CA - The OUCH Pro Cycling Team Presented by Maxxis heads into the Tour of Missouri Monday with a balanced roster well suited to the hard, rolling course of the seven-day race.

"Missouri is definitely not a pure climber's course," said team directeur sportif Mike Tamayo. "For the overall, it favors riders who can get over the climbs but also time trial well."

For that reason, OUCH Presented by Maxxis has brought together a roster with both conventional overall contenders such as Rory Sutherland and Chris Baldwin, but also classics-style riders like Karl Menzies, Andrew Pinfold and U.S. criterium champion John Murphy, who could find themselves sprinting from breaks, or even contending for the overall title if a break sticks like it did in 2007, when 12 riders got off the front in Stage 2 and opened a gap of 16 minutes.

"Last year, with some of the bigger squads there controlling things, the race pretty much stayed together," Tamayo noted. "This year, the field is even stronger."

Contending against the likes of Astana, Garmin-Slipstream, Columbia-HTC and Liquigas for the overall, OUCH Presented by Maxxis will send 2007 and 2008 NRC points champion Sutherland, as well as Baldwin and Floyd Landis. The GC trio will have ample support from team captain Tim Johnson, as well as Bradley White, who had a strong Tour of Utah and followed that up with a very impressive and active U.S. National Road Race Championship effort. White will also be on the hunt for breaks.

For the sprints and breaks, the team will look to Menzies, Murphy and Pinfold. The Tour starts tomorrow in St. Louis and concludes next Sunday in Kansas City.

The OUCH Pro Cycling Team Presented by Maxxis for the Tour of Missouri:
Chris Baldwin, USA
Tim Johnson, USA
Floyd Landis, USA
Karl Menzies, TAS
John Murphy, USA
Andrew Pinfold, CAN
Rory Sutherland, AUS
Brad White, USA

Photo: Jonathan Devich