Posted by Editoress on 02/5/14
Along with the expansion to seven full days of racing this August, the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah professional cycling event will broaden its geographical footprint to 12 host cities and venues across two western states. At a press conference on Tuesday on the campus of University of Utah, organizers of the Tour of Utah announced three first-time venues for the 10th anniversary of the event, including an inaugural expansion beyond the borders of Utah. This year's week-long sporting event will extend from the red rock spires of Cedar City in southern Utah to the peaks of the Uinta Mountains outside Evanston, Wyoming.
The 2014 Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah will take place August 4-10, sanctioned by both USA Cycling and the UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale). Known as "America's Toughest Stage Race", the Tour of Utah annually features more than 600 miles of racing and 38,000 feet of climbing. The Tour of Utah continues to be sanctioned by the UCI as one of the top professional cycling events in North America, a 2.1-rated UCI American Tour stage race.
Six of the 16 professional cycling teams have already accepted invitations to race this summer. Five of these are ProTeams, which traditionally race at the prestigious Tour de France: Belkin-Pro Cycling Team (The Netherlands), BMC Racing Team (USA), Team Garmin-Sharp (USA), ORICA GreenEDGE (Australia), Trek Factory Racing (USA). An additional early confirmation comes from Jelly Belly presented by Maxxis (USA), a UCI Continental team which includes the reigning four-time men's U.S. National Road Cycling Champion, Fred Rodriguez.
"Each year the Tour of Utah has the opportunity to break new ground by showcasing the sport to different parts of the state, and our selection of host cities and venues in 2014 is no exception. The addition of a seventh day of racing allows us to expand to new territories like Powder Mountain and Evanston, Wyoming, as well as build upon the tremendous racing we experienced in southern Utah last year and our traditional finish in Park City. We are genuinely excited to bring the Tour of Utah to these communities and thank them for supporting the race," said Steve Miller, president of Miller Sports Properties, which operates the Tour of Utah.
Utah is home to five National Parks and seven National Monuments, and is famous worldwide for a vast number of ski resorts with the "Greatest Snow on Earth". This year's host cities will allow the Tour of Utah to pass seven ski resorts, four national parks and monuments and several national forests. Details regarding each stage route (race mileage, elevation gain, start/finish times) and spectator festivities will be announced in the coming months.
"The Utah Sports Commission has been proud to be involved with the Tour of Utah for 10 years, and see it grow to become a major international cycling event generating significant economic impact and tremendous exposure for Utah," said Jeff Robbins, president and CEO of the Utah Sports Commission.
The Overall Start on Monday, August 4th returns to southern Utah. Cedar City, known as "Festival City, USA," hosted the finish line for Stage One last year. This summer Cedar City, home to Southern Utah University and the Utah Shakespeare Festival, will host the start and finish for Stage One, as well as pre-race festivities on the weekend, such as the Team Presentation Event.
Stage Two will return for a second consecutive year to the communities that sit adjacent to the majestic red-rock landscapes known as the National Historic District of Utah. Panguitch, the county seat of Garfield County located just northwest of the entrance to Bryce Canyon National Park, will host the day's start. Torrey, 10 miles west from Capitol Reef National Park, will host the finish. Both communities hosted the Tour of Utah in 2013.
Stage Three will lead the race into central Utah, from the high desert of the Utah Valley to the western slopes of the Oquirrh Mountains. The stage start returns to northern Utah County and the Lehi area for a sixth time. This will be a flashback to the early days of the Tour, where the event started in 2004 as the three-day Thanksgiving Point Stage Race and Cycling Festival. The stage finish will be held at Miller Motorsports Park, a state-of-the-art road racing facility in Tooele. This is the sixth year that the Tour has stopped at Miller Motorsports Park, the last visit was in 2012 for a Team Time Trial.
Stage Four provides a return to Ogden and Weber County. The start on Thursday will be in downtown Ogden, known world-wide for its high adventure recreation year round. Ogden will host the Tour for a sixth year; it last hosted two stages in 2012. A new mountain-top finish will be featured at Powder Mountain that day. This is North America's largest ski area with 7,000 acres of skiable terrain, and is located 19 miles northeast of Ogden in Eden, Utah.
Stage Five boasts two new host communities, and the first time the Tour of Utah has traveled to a neighboring state. Picturesque Evanston is located 25 miles from the Utah border, and the race will navigate through the Uinta Mountains along Mirror Lake Scenic Highway to reach Kamas. The community of Kamas has seen the Tour pass through the valley in Summit County for the past seven years, several times designated as an official sprint line. The finish for Stage Five will be in Kamas for the first time.
Salt Lake City and Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort both return in 2014 to host Stage Six, the seventh consecutive year both venues have hosted the Tour. It is the first time that the two locations will be used together for this epic day of cycling, known as the "Queen Stage." This is traditionally the day with the most climbing for a single day, close to 10,000 feet of elevation gain, as the Tour heads across the Wasatch Mountains to finish at Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort. Salt Lake City looks to hold the start on the campus of University of Utah. Saturday's affair will also serve as the route for The Ultimate Challenge presented by University of Utah Health Care, the official non-competitive, endurance bicycle ride for amateurs held the same day as Stage Six of the Tour of Utah. Last year more than 700 amateur cyclists took part in The Ultimate Challenge.
Stage Seven will return to Park City on Sunday, August 10th, the third consecutive year for the Stage Start and Overall Finish in this year-round resort town. This is the sixth time Park City has served as a host city for the Tour. Home to three year-round resorts, Park City expects to offer a challenging conclusion to the week-long Tour of Utah, with a final epic climb over Empire Pass. Expect huge crowds to pack Historic Main Street and see the champion crowned for the 2014 Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah for the grand finale.
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