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Second annual Tour de Grove bike race kicks off

(via Flickr/photohome_uk)

The second annualTour 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.

"I kind of compare it to a little like NASCAR, where it's a shorter lap and they'll race still for 40 or so miles," Weiss said. "But you'll get to see them every 3 or 4 minutes, and you'll watch the narrative of the race develop.  So it's more corners, it's actually a faster, more spectator-friendly event."

The three-day event features a National Calendar Race for women's and men's pro teams at 3:40 and 5:00 Saturday afternoon.