Tour de Grove

Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio

Some of the top athletes in their sport were in St. Louis last weekend.

They weren’t wearing the birds and bats of the Cardinals, and they didn’t draw the crowds of a weekend series at Busch Stadium. But the contest known as the Tour de Grove is slowly but surely becoming a big draw in the world of professional cycling.

The atmosphere on a warm spring Saturday afternoon in the Grove has the feel of a gigantic street party. People line Manchester Avenue sipping beer, snacking on the wares of street vendors, and listening to music.

(via Flickr/photohome_uk)

The second annual Tour de Grove bike race got under way this afternoon.

Some 15 professional teams from around the country will be competing for a total purse of around $35,000.

Mike Weiss is the owner of the Big Shark Bicycle Company and is one of the event organizers.

Unlike the Tour of Missouri, Weiss says the Tour de Grove features an urban loop track, with more chances to watch the race unfold.