Tour of Missouri attendance--was it humongous or just really, really big?

Is it 600,000 or just a quarter million?

Tour of Missouri spectators, that is.

Frankly, we'll take it either way.

The official numbers should be released in a week or so.

In the meanwhile, here is what the Springfield News-Leader has to say:

There's no question George Hincapie won the inaugural Tour of Missouri. The big question now: how many people watched?
Spectator estimates for the six-day race range from just over 250,000 to 600,000.

The quarter-million estimate comes from the Missouri Highway Patrol, while the head of a statewide bicycling group has cited the higher figure, borrowing it from a Kansas City magazine.

With unofficial attendance figures varying so widely, Gov. Matt Blunt and Lt. Governor Peter Kinder are waiting for a report from two University of Missouri professors before announcing a total.

Still, Kinder says Missourians can expect to see more racing.

In post-race comments, the lieutenant governor said he expects the race to return in 2008.

"Numerous times he said we are on a three-year commitment to this race," Kinder spokesman Barry Bennett said, referring to a three-year contract with Medalist Sports to organize the race.
By the way, as we explained to the News-Leader, MoBikeFed doesn't know anything special about the 600,000 figure--except that it was found in large letters on the front of a glossy magazine displayed prominently in news racks across the state.