2016 Tour of Utah Where to Watch Guide

Empire Pass -Tour of Utah
Empire Pass is at the top of a brutally steep climb just a few miles before the stage 7 finish of the Tour of Utah in Park City, Utah. Come early and spend the day here, or on Bonanza Flats. Photo credit Dave Iltis.

By Jackie Tyson

The 2016 Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah men’s professional cycling stage race returns for a 12th year, August 1-7. The 704-mile course will include 52,951 vertical feet of climbing for 16 of the best men’s cycling teams in the world, solidifying the event as “America’s Toughest Stage Race”. In fact, the professional riders find this moniker of the Tour of Utah to be quite accurate:

• “It’s a pretty difficult race, really hard climbs.” Joe Dombrowski (USA) of Team Cannondale-Garmin, winner of 2015 Stage 6 and reigning Tour of Utah champion.

• “It’s brutal.” Brent Bookwalter (USA) of BMC Racing Team, who finished second on Stage 7 and won the overall Utah Sports Commission Sprint Leader jersey.

• “It’s one of the hardest races I’ve ever done.” Greg Daniel (USA) of Axeon Cycling Team, 2016 USA cycling Professional Road Race national champion.

But it is also some of the most spectacular scenery of any professional sporting event on the globe. This year’s race will pass adjacent to or through two national parks, two national monuments, four national forests and two state parks. The overall start will be held at Zion Canyon Village, a visit to southern Utah for a third time, and the overall finish will return to Park City for an eighth time, this year with a new start/finish on upper Main Street. And there are incredible twists, turns and high altitude excitement in between!

This guide provides some helpful tips (we hope) on making a memorable visit to a stage start, a stage finish, or the entire week of racing. If you can’t make it to every stage, we have you covered! You can follow every pedal stroke in the peloton for free from your mobile device each and every day on the Tour Tracker powered by Adobe app. The Tour is the only pro stage race in North America that is covered from start to finish using Tour Tracker powered by Adobe. Once you download the app for your iPad, iPhone or Android device, take it with you to a start line, or a finish line, and never miss any of the action.

Pre-Race Festivities

Team Presentation

Saturday, July 30 from 5 to 7 p.m.

Beverley Taylor Sorenson Center for the Arts

at the Ashton Family Greenshow Stage

150 W. University Boulevard, Cedar City 84720

Everyone is invited to attend the 2016 Tour of Utah Team Presentation at the brand new Beverley Taylor Sorenson Center for the Arts. This free, community event will give cycling fans an up close and personal introduction to meet all the 16 professional men’s teams competing in the 12th edition of the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah. Come listen as the Tour’s race announcer Dave Towle will interview riders on the stage. Bring a camera for lots of photos of your favorite athletes. Tour of Utah festivities will begin at 5 p.m. but stay and enjoy the Utah Shakespeare Festival’s Greenshow at 7 p.m.

Every Day During Race Week

Papa John’s Rider Sign-In and Autograph Alley

One hour before each stage begins, fans are given access to all the riders for autographs and photographs. It is free for all spectators, and takes place adjacent to the announcer’s stage at the start line. Thanks to Papa John’s, the entire family can get close enough to see and hear the top stars of the peloton.

University of Utah Health Care Sprint to the Finish Kids’ Bike Races

Children ages five to12 have the opportunity to race their bicycles on part of the course used by the pros. To participate, kids and parents must register at the University of Utah Health Care tent in the Harmons Healthy Living Expo (see addresses for Expo below). It’s free and fun! Make sure each child has a helmet and closed-toe shoes for a safe experience on his/her bicycle! Registration ends 15 minutes prior to the race:

• Monday, Stage 1 – Cedar City – 10 a.m.

• Tuesday, Stage 2 – Torrey – 1 p.m.

• Wednesday, Stage 3 – Payson – 1 p.m.

• Thursday, Stage 4 – Kearns – 1 p.m.

• Friday, Stage 5 – Bountiful – 1 p.m.

• Saturday, Stage 6 – Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort – no kids’ race scheduled

• Sunday, Stage 7 – Park City – 1 p.m.

Harmons Healthy Living Expo

Plan to arrive early to any of the seven finish line host venues and spend some time at the Harmons Healthy Living Expo. This interactive festival area and sponsor showcase serves as a gateway to the finish line every day. It provides an array of interactive exhibits, official Tour merchandise and live entertainment, including jumbo television screens to watch the race unfold as it heads to the finish. Admission is free.

• Monday, Stage 1 – Cedar City, 300 W. University Boulevard 8 a.m. to 12 Noon

• Tuesday, Stage 2 – Torrey, 10 E. Main Street 12 Noon to 4 p.m.

• Wednesday, Stage 3 – Payson, 275 S. Main Street 12 Noon to 4 p.m.

• Thursday, Stage 4 – Kearns, 5670 Cougar Lane 12 Noon to 4 p.m.

• Friday, Stage 5 – Bountiful, 20 S. Main Street 12 Noon to 4 p.m.

• Saturday, Stage 6 – Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort, 100 Little Cottonwood Canyon 12Noon to 4 p.m.

• Sunday, Stage 7 – Park City, 250 Main Street 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah, August 1-7, 2016

Monday, August 1

Stage 1 presented by Workers Compensation Fund

Zion Canyon Village to Cedar City

84 miles – 6,679 feet of climbing

Start Time: 8 a.m.

Finish Time: 11:45 a.m.

Start Location: 147 Zion Park Blvd., Springdale, 84767

Finish Location: 300 W. University Boulevard, Cedar City, 84720

2016 Tour of Utah Map - Stage 1Stage 1 presented by Workers Compensation Fund begins at Zion Canyon Village, the southernmost point in Utah of the event’s 12-year history. The opening 84-mile leg begins in the shadows of the jagged spires of The Watchman, one of the most prominent peaks in Zion National Park. The Tour will proceed with a neutral start for the first 12 miles, and racing will begin once the teams are through the East boundary of Zion National Park. This neutralized section is being promoted as a cycling demonstration to highlight alternative, non-motorized ways to enjoy the park and to promote exercise and outdoor recreation.

It is an early start, but well worth the effort. Come at 7 a.m. for the overall start ceremonies, grab some autographs, take some photos, and stay to watch the Tour Tracker coverage on the Zion Canyon Village Theatre screen! Then enjoy lunch at Zion Canyon Village and an afternoon to explore the beauty of the park.

Traffic tips for the overall start at Zion Canyon Village:

• Motorists should be through the South Gate of Zion National Park before 7:45 a.m. A section of State Route 9 from Zion Canyon Village to the intersection of Floor of the Valley Road will be closed to all traffic from 7:50 to 8:15 a.m.

• The East Gate of Zion National Park will be closed to all traffic from 7 a.m. to approximately 9:15 a.m., as the race will utilize State Route 9 / Zion-Mount Carmel Highway from Zion Canyon Village to U.S. Highway 89.

• U.S. Highway 89 will be impacted by the race from 9 to 10 a.m. from Mount Carmel Junction to State Highway 14 in Alton. Expect delays with a rolling road closure for these 22 miles.

• It is requested that Race Spectators do not enter the park to watch the race.

Just past the Mount Carmel Junction, the first Utah Sports Commission Sprint line will be staged in Orderville. Fans can watch the riders surge for King of the Mountain points at Duck Creek Village and Bristlecone along State Road 14. Be aware that once the racers pass, they will make a blazingly-fast 20-mile descent to Cedar City. Spectators will not be able to see a KOM climb and also make it down Cedar Canyon for the finish.

The most exciting moments should be in Cedar City as the riders will rocket through three downtown circuits, 2.5 miles each lap, using Center Street, 1150 West, Thunderbird Way, and 200 East. The finish line of the race will be located on the campus of Southern Utah University, at the intersection of University Boulevard and N 300 West. Nearby a community pancake breakfast will be held from 8 to 10 a.m., so you can follow the race on the Big Screen television as it makes its way north. Other activities in the morning will include specialty contests with giveaways, a climbing wall for teens/adults and inflatables for the children.

Tuesday, August 2

Stage 2

Escalante to Torrey

99 miles – 9,435 feet of climbing

Start Time: 11:45 a.m.

Finish Time: 3:45 p.m.

Start Location: 59 W Main St., Escalante, 84726

Finish Location: 10 E. Main St., Torrey, 84775

2016 Tour of Utah Map - Stage 2Stage 2 on Tuesday, Aug. 2, returns to Scenic Byway 12, an All-American Road that weaves its way through picturesque Garfield and Wayne counties. There is a new start for this 99-mile day of racing that will see 9,435 feet of elevation gain from Escalante, famous for its slot canyons and close proximity to Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.

The night before the race start in Escalante, fans will enjoy a live band, Dutch oven cooking, a variety of games for children and a free movie. On race day, Escalante will provide music played by DJ, a kids race with the mayor and a neighborhood cookout. The 18 miles between Escalante and Boulder are some of the most beautiful in the state. Come early to ride your bicycle along this stretch and watch the Utah Sports Commission Sprint in Boulder. Make sure you carve out a little time to stop at Kiva Koffeehouse, and keep riding to the narrow spine of red rock known as Hogsback, which is the first Utah Office of Tourism King of the Mountain climb. You’ll find good eateries along Hwy 12, including Circle D, Escalante Outfitters, Café Diablo, Burr Trail Café and Hell’s Backbone Grill, to name a few.

The second KOM climb will take place at Boulder Mountain, followed by a sweeping descent into Torrey. New this year will be the addition of two 17-mile circuits after the race reaches Torrey. The circuits undulate around Wayne County and the town of Teasdale, under the shadow of the red spires of Capitol Reef National Park. If you want to see a race “doubleheader”, drive your car or ride your bicycle from Torrey up to Boulder Mountain before 12:30 p.m. You’ll see the race pass between 1:20 to 1:45 p.m. Once all the cyclists and race caravan clear this area, vehicles and spectators on bicycles will be permitted to travel on Highway 12 back to Torrey, at the appropriate speed designated by law. You can make it back to Torrey Town to see one of the circuits and the exciting finish! From 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. in Torrey there is a full schedule of activities at the Torrey Big Apple Stage, with bicycle safety checks, a fitness station to check your heart rate, free snacks to promote healthy eating, sidewalk chalk and crafts for the kids and lots of giveaways!

Wednesday, August 3

Stage 3

Richfield to Payson

119 miles – 6,337 feet of climbing

Start Time: 11:10 a.m.

Finish Time: 3:45 p.m.

Start Location: 300 N. 100 East, Richfield, 84701

Finish Location: 275 S. Main St., Payson, 84651

2016 Tour of Utah Map - Stage 3Stage 3 on Wednesday is the longest stage of the week, 119 miles from Richfield to Payson. The last time the Tour used this route was in 2013, when Australian Lachlan Morton screamed down the 22-mile descent of Mt. Nebo to win his first U.S. race. To see the start of the race in Richfield, look for all the festivities at Memorial Park and 100 East. The road closure in downtown Richfield at Memorial Park will begin 9:45 a.m. Once the race departs, motorists will be able to travel along State Highway 50 and Interstate 15 to see the finish in Richfield. The first two-thirds of the race route goes through the rural communities of Sevier, Sanpete and Juab counties, with Utah Sports Commission Sprint lines in Manti and Fountain Green.

It is the seventh time the Tour has included Mt. Nebo in the race, going through Uinta National Forest. The riders will crest Mount Nebo, the southernmost and highest mountain in the Wasatch Range, at 9,300 feet for the one KOM on the day. If you want to ride your bicycle to the KOM climb, give yourself plenty of time to make the 22-mile climb from Payson. The race is expected to turn north on Nebo Loop Road between 2-2:40 p.m. Plan to arrive at a location for lunch by 1pm, and then use Tour Tracker on your mobile device to follow the race for the climb and finish. Bicycle and motorist traffic will not be allowed to follow and pass the race caravan to see the race finish in Payson.

To watch the race in Payson, head too Main Street and Memorial Park. There will be a bike valet at the park. It’s a packed schedule of activities for the entire family, including a Slackline Show, dance teams, face painters, chalk-art garden, ballon artist, music provided by a DJ and other performers and lots of food!

Thursday, August 4

Stage 4 presented by UnitedHealthcare

IM Flash to Kearns

96 miles – 4,504 feet of climbing

Start Time: 12:10 p.m.

Finish Time: 3:45 p.m.

Start Location: 4000 N. Flash Dr., Lehi, 84043

Finish Location: 5670 Cougar Lane, Kearns, 84118

2016 Tour of Utah Map - Stage 4Stage 4 presented by UnitedHealthcare will find the race returning to Salt Lake County for a 10th time in 12 years. On Thursday, Aug. 4, the race will start on the corporate campus of IM Flash in Lehi, located at 4000 N. Flash Drive. A big party is planned for the race start festivities, which will include BMX demonstrations, live music by Alex Boye, a DJ, climbing wall, dunk tank, midway games for the entire family and several food trucks! A skydiving exhibition will be part of the festivities. Access to the business property will be closed from approximately 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., so follow signage for public parking to be used for spectators.

The 96-mile route will end at Kearns for the first time. A 28-mile stretch of the Mountain View Corridor will be used by the race for two and a half laps, with two Sprint line prizes. Then the race will drop into the township of Kearns for three challenging laps of a four-mile section of roadways – 6200 South, Cougar Lane, 5400 South and 5600 West. The finish line will be adjacent to the Utah Olympic Oval. This five-acre facility is known as the “Fastest Ice on Earth” and could very well showcase the fastest men on two wheels for an exciting finish. Make plans to visit the Oval, spend time at the Harmons Healthy Living Expo for lunch and watch the race as it heads to Kearns on the big screen TV.

Friday, August 5

Stage 5 presented by Zions Bank

Antelope Island State Park to Bountiful

114 miles – 6,948 feet of climbing

Start Time: 11:15 a.m.

Finish Time: 3:45 p.m.

Start Location: Antelope Island Road (Causeway/Island Junction)

Finish Location: 20 S. Main St., Bountiful, 84010

2016 Tour of Utah Map - Stage 5Last year the Tour featured a stage in Davis County for the first time, and by popular demand it is returning! Stage 5 presented by Zions Bank will feature 114 miles from Antelope Island State Park to Bountiful. There are four KOMs on this day of 6,948 feet of climbing – the North Ogden Divide, Trappers Loop and the two ascents of the Bountiful Bench.

Antelope Island State Park will celebrate the return of the Tour the night before with live music, food and children’s activities. On race day the park will open at 6 a.m., and the $10 admission fee will be waived for Tour of Utah fans. Come early with the entire family as free t-shirts will be given to the first 200 children, which can be signed by the athletes. The causeway will remain open until just before 11 a.m., however, access to the island will close at 10 a.m. Spectators will be allowed to park at the Marina (near the start line) or along the causeway to watch the event. The start at Antelope Island State Park will begin with two circuits of three miles each on the island, passing the Visitors Center twice. The race expected to cross the causeway to the mainland between 11:30-11:40 a.m.

The racers will enjoy relatively flat roads after crossing the seven-mile causeway. The first Utah Sports Commission Sprint line is located in Hooper, passing between 11:55 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. The first Utah Office of Tourism KOM climb will be at the North Ogden Divide, passing between 12:30 to 1 p.m. The second Sprint will be contested in Eden, passing between 1 to 1:30 p.m. Then the race travel on the east side of Pineview Reservoir, going through Huntsville, to climb Trapper’s Loop between 1:30 to 2:15 p.m. There are lots of great places to ride a bicycle in the Eden Valley, or spend some time on the water at the Pineview Reservoir.

Using U.S. Highway 89 in the southbound direction, the race will continue through South Weber, Layton, Fruit Heights and Farmington. After zipping through Centerville on Main Street, it is full speed ahead into the city limits of Bountiful, where last year thousands of spectators, and American flags, lined the course. Again in 2016, there will be two nine-mile circuits across the Bountiful Bench, making this a great opportunity for race fans to witness the suffering in the peloton up close. Festivities in downtown Bountiful will be on Main Street at Center Street for the finish, with the peloton rolling in a northbound direction. You can spend all day in Bountiful with live music, great food and entertainment:

• Live music on First South Street stage – Flat Canyon Band (Classic Rock) will play from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and the Wildfire band (Country/Classic Rock) will play from 1 to 2:30 p.m.

• Obstacle course for children and adults on 2nd South soccer field

• Arts Dance Festival at 4th North park

• Pictures with Jane Joy and her large bicycle

• Bicycle Rodeo for children ages 8-12, and drawing contest with Mayor Lewis

• Food Court selections from Texas Roadhouse, Vito’s, Pizza Pie Cafe, Tacos El Morro, Donut Kabobs, Cold Stone Creamery, and FiiZ Drinks

Suggested parking in Bountiful includes Bountiful Junior High School at 30 W 400 N, South Davis Recreation Center at 550 N 200 W, City Hall at 790 South 100 East and Bountiful High School at 695 Orchard Drive.

Saturday, August 6

Stage 6 presented by University of Utah Health Care

Snowbasin Resort to Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort

114 miles – 11,165 feet of climbing

Start Time: 10:50 a.m.

Finish Time: 3:45 p.m.

Start Location: 3925 Snow Basin Rd., Huntsville, 84317

Finish Location: 100 Little Cottonwood Canyon, Snowbird, 84092

2016 Tour of Utah Map - Stage 6Saturday is the “Queen Stage” of the Tour of Utah, Stage 6 presented by University of Utah Health Care. This year’s route harkens back to 2013, with the race beginning at Snowbasin Resort. After covering 114 miles and 11,165 feet of climbing, the race will finish at Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort for a record ninth consecutive year.

For the start at Snowbasin Resort, there is plenty of spectator parking, but expect a few hundred cars before dawn. Saturday is also the start of The Ultimate Challenge presented by University of Utah Health Care, which begins at 6:30 a.m. The pro peloton will head south on State Road 167/Trappers Loop Road for a second day in a row, entering Morgan County just 10 minutes after the opening ceremonies. This is a great vantage point to see an early break. Then head back to Snowbasin for an afternoon of mountain biking or hiking!

The race rolls through scenic ranch land in the Morgan Valley, passing through downtown Morgan between 11:40 a.m. to 12 Noon and then East Canyon State Park. State Road 65 will be used to pass through Henefer, and Old Highway 30 to pass through Coalville. From there, the race heads to Wanship for the first Utah Sports Commission Sprint line of the day, between 1:10 to 1:40 p.m.). Then its full speed ahead up Browns Canyon Road and into Park City for a second Sprint line just before Park City High School on State Road 248.

The showdown for the true climbers begins on the 11-percent gradient, Category 1 climb across Guardsman Pass. The racers will use Marsac Ave/SR 224 to cross Guardsman Pass between 1:45 to 3 p.m. Then it’s the 14-mile descent through Big Cottonwood Canyon and on to the legendary six-mile HC climb of Little Cottonwood Canyon. This is one of the best places to enjoy the Tour of Utah, especially at Tanners Flat, where fans set up tents early in the day and hand out tasty treats to cyclists, as well as caravan drivers in the race. Fans come Saturday morning to Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort to enjoy the Mountain Coaster, Alpine Slide, Mountain Flyer, Vertical Drop, Bungee Trampoline, Climbing Wall, Kid's Inflatables and more.

It is important to note that ALL spectator traffic and amateur cyclists must reach the bottom of Little Cottonwood Canyon before 1 p.m. MT on Saturday. After that time, ALL motorists/riders will be stopped and directed to the Swamp Lot. This is for safety related to the Tour of Utah race caravan and professional cyclists.

In fact, the base of Little Cottonwood Canyon is a hot spot for spectators. The Swamp Lot on Wasatch Boulevard, a Utah Transit Authority Park & Ride area, is a great place to cheer on The Ultimate Challenge riders and the Tour of Utah racers. There will be a big MediaOne Viewing Party at the Swamp Lot, which is free for all spectators on Saturday. It will include a big screen television to follow live race coverage. Expect to see some local food trucks for pay-as-you-go hospitality. This will also serve as a hydration stop with complimentary supplies for riders of The Ultimate Challenge.

Sunday, August 7

Stage 7 presented by Utah Sports Commission

Park City to Park City

78 miles, 7,883 feet of climbing

Start Time: 12:15 p.m.

Finish Time: 3:30 p.m.

Start/Finish Location: 250 Main St., Park City, 84060

2016 Tour of Utah Map - Stage 7Stage 7 presented by Utah Sports Commission uses the same course that became a classic in 2013, with Park City hosting the Tour for an eighth time. The Sunday finale on Aug. 7 covers 78 miles with a new start and finish on Upper Main Street in Park City. Spectators can see a flash of the peloton in Kamas and Midway for Utah Sports Commission Sprint lines. If you would like to see the race twice in one day, then start your day in Kamas for a valley bike ride, or a morning hike in the Uintah Mountains. It is close enough to see the Sprint at State Road 32 and 100 North about 1:30 p.m. then drive the 28 miles to Park City to get a good position for the rocket finish up Main Street.

Stage 7 has 7,883 feet of climbing, including legendary Empire Pass, considered one of the toughest climbs in the world. It is a matter of survival on the rough road and severe pitches on this Hors Categorie climb through the Aspen trees, with the gradient averaging 10 percent and reaching greater than 20 percent. Then its on to the technical descent of the Mine Road into Park City, where the speed of the racers can exceed 60 miles per hour, the route provides a new finish. A quick lap using Main Street, 9th Street, Park Avenue and Heber Avenue in downtown Park City will provide a final grinding climb to the top of upper Main Street.

It’s tough to say which spot is better, the top of Empire Pass or the top of Main Street. As a spectator, you a winner in either location. In town, you’ll find a new configuration for the Harmons Healthy Living Expo, lining the east side of Main Street, and the entire west side of the street open for race viewing. There will be a fashion show by Kühl and chalk provided for the entire family to decorate the street!

Allez, allez – enjoy the Tour!

 

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