The Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah is back! Following a sort of disappointing Tour of Cali comes the race that always delivers. Utahn! This year it is one GC defining stage short of the last edition, but good things await nonetheless (while in 2014 there was the climb up Powder Mountain on the fourth day of racing – where Danielson got his lead-, this year’s first and only mountain finish comes on the penultimate day, Snowbird. And if this last one makes Cadel spring to your mind so will the third finish in a row in Park City, after the Empire Pass where last year Evans did a glorious comeback descent to take the stage win. There will be two criterium like stages for the ladies, too!
For the first time in its history the race will start and (stage) finish in Logan, home to the Utah State University, head south to Ogden, Bountiful, just outside of Salt Lake, travel to the other side of the Wasatch Range onto Soldier Hollow, head back to the state capital, up to Snowbird southeast of the city and end in Park City. Could understandably be called the Tour Of Northern Utah as this year you’ll not be seeing the riders go through the typical dry landscape of the Colorado plateau and Ridge regions.
US Continental teams are Jamis, UHC, Axeon, Airgas, the Hincapies, Jelly Belly, Optum and Smartstop. From abroad comes the usual suspect, Drapac straight from Down Under; MTN-Q, Bardiani, Budget Forklifts and Team Colombia. Garmin, Trek and BMC are the only World Tour teams this year – gutted there’s no Giant taking Lampre’s spot, whom besides having Horner with them last year have no business whatsoever in these parts. But when you look at it, we’re down from 6 to 3 WT teams. Hopefully, though, that will mean nothing.
You will be able to watch the race via the official Tour Tracker app and FOXSports 1 (Thanks Carols).
Startlist: http://www.procyclingstats.com/race.php?id=151273&c=3 (being updated)
Click on ''Map'' hyperlink to see KOM's and Sprints.
note: stages' 4 - 7 overview are copy-paste from the official website.
Stage 1, Logan - Logan: 213km Map
Riders leave Logan and head east taking the scenic Hwy 89 up their first uphill effort leading to Bear Lake, a path they will use when returning. However, from this side it’s a much gentler climb - more of a false flat with a max. 4% slope, hence it’s a cat.3. Once on the plateau the lake is in, the flat high grounds on the profile, they take a long ride around it, going as far north as St. Charles already in Idaho, turning back on tight and exposed roads. Wind may be a factor. On the border between the two states is the first intermediate sprint, the second one’s already in Utah before the last climb, which was tackled on the opposite direction. This time quite a big deal: 9 km’s averaging 6% with gradients up to 11%. Only a cat.2, though. Fast downhill back to Logan, where a sprinter is expected to win in similar fashion to Hofland.
Stage 2, Tremonton - Ogden: 162km Map
Not much to say, peloton finish most likely. That last climb could have been better used, but because of a 3 lap circuit in Ogden it stays too far from the line to have any real impact. The North Ogden divide, a 3rd category climb averaging 10%. Before that, riders go through the Pineview Reservoir which will do for some nice scenery.
Stage 3, Antelope Island - Bountiful: 177km Map
Should be a great stage. Starts in the Antelope Island which should give a clear a broad view of the Great Salt Lake. Riders reach mainland through the Antelope Island Rd. -which makes it not look like an Island at all-, head north to Ogden and turn back south all the way to Bountiful with all it’s pleasing American suburban neighborhoods. In between, a rather hard parcours with 4 categorized climbs. The first one used the day before, only this time a second category, since it’s ridden from the most difficult side. Next comes the Trappers Loop, 6km’s averaging above 7% - a cat.3. Riders hit the last climb, which is ridden twice going around the town and finishing on the Main St, a 3rd cat as well.
Stage 4, Soldier Hollow - Soldier Hollow: 205km Map
Soldier Hollow is perhaps best known as a venue for several events in the 2002 Winter Olympic Games. It’s also a new venue for one of the most difficult stages in the 2015 Tour of Utah. The first obstacle after leaving Soldier Hollow is Daniels Canyon, with a KOM at Daniels Summit. The next section features heavy crosswinds as riders move past Strawberry Reservoir and into Duchesne County, home to a large stretch of the Uinta National Forest. There, riders will face a daunting 10-mile, Category 2 climb up to Wolf Creek Pass. Once they crest the 9300-foot summit, riders will then quickly descend through the town of Woodland and back toward Wasatch County and Soldier Hollow. The challenges will continue as riders endure a long, slightly uphill sprint before crossing the elevated finish line—one that lets fans get a full view of the finish.
Stage 5, Salt Lake City - Salt Lake City: 89km (13x7) Map
One of the staples of the Tour of Utah is the Salt Lake City Circuit, a loop familiar to fans and riders alike. This year, however, the Circuit will feature a bit of a twist. Initially, the riders will follow the traditional route—passing City Creek Canyon, through the Avenues and the University of Utah before descending South Temple toward Downtown and State Street. At this point, riders will depart from tradition and turn right on 600 North, sending them up Wall Street and Zane Avenue—steep streets featuring a 20% grade. The route continues upward through the Capitol Hill Neighborhood to the stage finish at the Utah State Capitol. If a single lap through this route seems challenging, consider the fact that Stage 5 consists of seven laps, making for 55 challenging miles.
Stage 6, Salt Lake City - Snowbird: 178km Map
This is it—the most challenging, awe-inducing, jaw-dropping stage in the Tour of Utah. The Queen Stage, as it is known, mostly resembles the version from the 2014 Tour. This time, however, the start location has moved to the Rio Grande Depot in Downtown Salt Lake City. Riders will zoom past the Downtown Farmers Market and up 800 South to Emigration Canyon where they will encounter two KOMs on Little and Big Mountain. The climb doesn’t end there, as rider move upward through Morgan and Summit Counties and into Park City. This last section includes an astonishingly difficult Category 1 climb to Guardsman’s Pass before a fast descent down Big Cottonwood Canyon to Wasatch Boulevard. The day’s route will finish with the traditional HC climb to the Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort, a legendary finish that has been a staple of the Queen Stage for nearly a decade.
Stage 7, Park City - Park City, 126km Map
If the Queen Stage didn’t do it, Stage 7 might just defeat those who dare to face the Tour of Utah. At the very least, it will be one of the toughest final stages the riders might face all year. Starting on Park City’s Historic Main Street, Stage 7 moves through the rich farmlands of Summit and Wasatch Counties to a KOM at Wolf Creek Ranches. This is a short but steep climb that offers just a tiny taste of what is to come. Empire Pass is a legend, a name spoken in hushed whispers throughout the cycling world. This 10-kilometer climb averages a 10% grade, with several pitches over 20%. Once conquered, riders will blast downhill at speeds of over 60 mph while maneuvering to cross the finish line on Main Street.
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