The Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah - also known as USA's best stage race alongside the Tour of the Gila - is here!
Similarly to last year, the race is seven stages long and has one MTF less than two years ago, as Powder Mountain no longer seems to be part of the menu for the future. However, to everyone's delight, the race's back to the southernmost parts of the Colorado Plateau, which means a more demanding parcours for the riders and some of the state's trademark landscapes for us to see.
Like we've seen in years before and in other American stage races, it kicks off with a semi-difficult stage with a KOM in the middle, albeit because of terrain, location and road constraints, as there are no better alternatives. I reckon the heat and dryness will do more damage than the climb itself. Hofland won't be here to repeat the feat, but it's the sprinters' for the taking. Could have been a descent finish but we have a circuit instead. Stage 2 has a more or less bumpy second half which may allow a late break to succed a la Michael Schär - before that we have a climb up Boulder Mt. Stage 3 to Payson brings the first GC defining stage with a steep climb up Mount Nebo and a power descent to the finish line. Should make the first selection of 20 riders or so. On the 4th day of racing we have a sprinting stage. Stage 5 is an improvement on last year's finish on Bountiful which should open some meaningful gaps and, most importantly, allow them being held. Then comes the finish atop Snowbird preceded by the Guardsman’s Pass (yikes!) and, the next day, the classic ending in Park City which saw Cadel produce this beauty two years ago. Before, though, the Empire Pass.
TEAMS BMC, cannondale, IAM, TREK, Fortuneo, Nippo, Novo Nordisk, One Pro Cycling, UHC, AXEON, HOLOWESKO, JAMIS, Jelly Belly, Lupus, Rally, Silber.
STARTLIST Not yet available.
COVERAGE Tour Tracker and FOX SPORTS 2.
click on each stage entry for a more detailed preview
Stage 1 - Zion Canyon Village › Cedar City, 135km
Stage 2 - Escalante › Torrey, 159.3km
Stage 3 - Richfield › Payson, 191.5km
Stage 4 - Lehi › Kearns, 154.4km
Stage 5 - Antelope Island › Bountiful, 183.4km
Stage 6 - Snowbasin › Snowbird, 185km
Stage 7 - Park City › Park City, 125.5km