By Jackie Tyson — The 2017 Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah men’s professional cycling stage race returns for a 13th year, July 31-Aug. 6. The 605-mile course will include 36,525 vertical feet of climbing for 16 of the most prominent men’s pro cycling teams in the world. These teams will bring more than 120 athletes representing 20 or more countries.
True to the name “America’s Toughest Stage Race”, the event will feature three mountaintop finishes, one being an uphill individual time trial. It will feature all the twists and turns, climbing and descending, deserts and forests that make this race great to watch and a challenge to race. The race will again be broadcast start to finish each day on Tour Tracker, and the final two hours each day on FOX Sports Networks across the U.S. The Tour of Utah is the only pro stage race in North America that has comprehensive Tour Tracker coverage for every mile. Once you download the app for your iPad, iPhone or Android device, take it with you to a start line, a finish line, or in between, and never miss any of the action.
But the best way to enjoy the Tour of Utah is in person. “I have been in the professional cycling world for years and know the ins and outs to the point that pro cycling is routine to me. It is special to take something that I have done around the world and bring it home to where I grew up and fell in love with cycling,” said pro cyclists and Utah native Rob Squire, who will return to the Tour of Utah this year with the Canyon Bicycles-Scott team. Squire has finished in the Top 10 of the General Classification the past two years.
“My favorite part of the Tour of Utah is getting to race in front of my friends and family. Watching on TV is one thing, which is cool in its own right, but witnessing the race in person is totally different. Mountains look big on TV, but when my friends drive up Little Cottonwood (to Snowbird Resort), they can really appreciate the feat of racing up it. In addition to the physical accomplishment, no one is quite ready to see how fast we go on our bikes. The last few years I have hit speeds of 60-plus mph, that's no joke in spandex and on skinny tires, and always impresses.”
Here’s how to watch Rob, his teammates and all the pros up close at the Tour this year.
Saturday, July 29 from 6 to 7:30 p.m.
Logan Golf and Country Club
710 North 1500 East, Logan, Utah
Race week begins with the Tour of Utah Team Presentation, a free event for spectators in a relaxed environment on Saturday, July 29 in Logan. Cycling fans are invited to meet and greet all the cyclists who will be competing in this year’s Tour of Utah. Each team will be introduced on an event stage and top riders interviewed by one of the race announcers. Spectators are encouraged to bring a camera to capture photos of favorite athletes. The Logan Golf and Country Club will host the event for a second time. Reserved seating with complimentary beverages and food are part of the Team Presentation Experience Package, so check for details at TourofUtah.com.
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.
Kids Sprint to the Finish presented by University of Utah Health
Children ages five to12 have the opportunity to race their bicycles on part of the course used by the pros. Two great reasons to participate – it’s free and it’s fun! To participate, parents or guard-ians must register their children at the University of Utah Health exhibit in the Harmons Healthy Living Expo (see addresses for Expo below). 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 each race (times listed are start times):
- Monday, July 31 – Logan – Noon
- Tuesday, Aug. 1 – Snowbasin – Noon
- Wednesday, Aug. 2 – Big Cottonwood Canyon – 11 a.m.
- Thursday, Aug. 3 – South Jordan City – Noon
- Friday, Aug. 4 – Bountiful – Noon
- Saturday, Aug. 5 – no races
- Sunday, Aug. 6 – Salt Lake City – 1:30 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 Har-mons Healthy Living Expo. This free, 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. Listed below are the street addresses for each day’s finish line of the race, and the hours for the Harmons Healthy Living Expo:
- Monday, July 31 Logan, 138 N. 100 East, 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
- Tuesday, Aug. 1 Snowbasin, 3925 Snow Basin Road (Huntsville), 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
- Wednesday, Aug. 2 Big Cottonwood Canyon, 8183 S Brighton Loop Rd. (Brighton), 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
- Thursday, Aug. 3 South Jordan City, 10996 S. Redwood Rd., 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
- Friday, Aug. 4 Bountiful, 20 S. Main St., 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
- Saturday, Aug. 5 Snowbird Resort, 100 Little Cottonwood Canyon (Snowbird), Noon to 4:30 p.m.
- Sunday, Aug. 6 Salt Lake City, 315 E. Capitol St., Noon to 4:30 p.m.
Monday, July 31, Stage 1 presented by America First Credit Union, Logan to Logan
132 miles – 6,550 feet of climbing
Start Time 8:35 a.m.
Finish Time 1:45 p.m.
Start/Finish Location – 138 N. 100 East, Logan, UT 84321
The Tour of Utah will start in northern Utah with a return visit to Logan and Cache County. Stage 1 presented by America First Credit Union is the longest day of the Tour of Utah at 132 miles. Home to Utah State University, Logan previously served as the overall start community for the 2015 Tour of Utah. This is the same route used two years ago, rolling across scenic roads in two states and testing the legs with 6,550 feet of elevation gain. The race will begin with one lap of a downtown circuit, proceeding northbound (clockwise) on 100 East and proceeding in a clockwise direction along 300 North, 200 East, Center Street and back to 100 East. Then the peloton of 120-plus riders will head north through Logan Canyon, a rugged area that offers a Utah Office of Tourism King of the Mountain climb (in both directions). From Garden City, the first Utah Sports Commission Sprint line will await on the Idaho state border.
The route will navigate clockwise for 48 miles around Bear Lake, known as the “Caribbean of the Rockies” for its turquoise-colored water. Riders hope to leave strong crosswinds behind as they return through Garden City for the short, but difficult, climb back up Logan Canyon. After a long descent on Highway 89 that passes Utah State University, riders will complete two downtown laps in Logan for an exciting finish on 100 East. The finishing circuits will favor a rider with strong technical skills and spectators will most likely enjoy a large field sprint.
Tour Tips Stage 1:
- The Tour will use sections of U.S. 89 in Utah and Idaho, State Road 30 in Utah and East Shore Drive in Idaho during Stage 1. Expect traffic delays and temporary road closures at:
- Utah State University on Hwy 89 between 8:30 to 8:45 a.m. for the start, and again between 1 to 2 p.m. for the finish. Once the race passes, intersections will reopen.
- Beaver Mountain Access Road (State Road 243) in northbound direction for the Utah Office of Tourism King of the Mountain climb between 9:45 to 10:10 a.m. and in the southbound direction between Noon and 1 p.m.
- Garden City along Hwy 89 in a northbound direction for a Utah Sports Commission Sprint line between 11:50 a.m. to 12:40 p.m., and along State Route 30 in a northbound direction from 11:50 a.m. to 12:35 p.m.
- Fish Haven, Idaho between 10:15 a.m. to 10:50 a.m. and St. Charles, Idaho between 10:25 a.m. to 11:15 a.m.
- Bear Lake State Park Beach on North Beach Road between 10:35 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
- For 20 miles along Eastshore Road in southbound direction between 10:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
- The race will feature two circuits in downtown Logan for the finish. Streets closed for these loops include sections of 100 East, Center Street, 200 East, Boulevard Drive, 500 East, 400 North, and back to 100 East. Roads will be closed along this route between 1:10 to 2:10 p.m.
Tuesday, Aug. 1, Stage 2, Brigham City to Snowbasin Resort
94 miles – 6,900 feet of climbing
Start Time 9:45 a.m.
Finish Time 1:45 p.m.
Start Location – 1 S Main St, Brigham City, UT 84302
Finish Location – 3925 Snow Basin Rd, Huntsville, UT 84317
The town of Brigham City has seen the Tour of Utah pass through its pristine community in prior years, but this “Gateway to the World’s Greatest Bird Refuge” will host a stage start for the first time. The 94-mile climbing affair on Tuesday begins with two neutral laps in downtown Brigham City, starting on Main Street near 100 South. It only takes 11 miles into the stage before the racers encounter the first of three Utah Office of Tourism KOMs at Sardine Canyon. This is a narrow road that hugs the side of Mt. Sterling. The route will circumnavigate the Wellsville Mountains.
The route will take State Highways 30 and 38 to circle the Wellsville Mountains in a counter-clockwise direction for 51 miles. Riders should be glad to go around these peaks, a part of the Wasatch Mountains that is said to be the “steepest” mountain range in North America. Specta-tors will see the race return through Brigham City for a second Sprint line on Historic Main Street. Then the route will turn south and follow State Highway 89, also known as the Fruit Highway, to reach the often-used North Ogden Divide, a five-kilometer climb averaging a 10-percent gradient.
The racers can catch their breath as the road flattens out around Pineview Reservoir. But they won’t have much time to relax before the first mountaintop finish of this year’s Tour at Snow-basin Resort. Host of the men’s and women’s downhill, super-G and combined competitions at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games, Snowbasin is perched on top of Old Snowbasin Road. Snow-basin Resort is one of the oldest continuously-operating ski areas in the nation, having opened in 1940. The final climb has never been used as a finish of the Tour of Utah, and was last used in 2010 as a stage start. The double-pitched incline to the resort, covering six miles with an av-erage gradient of six percent, should make the first selection for the overall race General Classi-fication.
Tour Tips Stage 2:
- The race will pass through Brigham City a second time on Main Street (Highway 13) for a Utah Sports Commission Sprint line between 11:35 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.
- The race will use 600 West and Weber High Drive to cross the North Ogden Divide for the second Utah Office of Tourism KOM climb. Expect delays along N. Ogden Canyon Road between Noon to 1 p.m.
- The race will use N. 5500 East and E 1900 North to pass through Eden between 12:30 to 1:15 p.m.
- The race will use 7800 East to pass on the east side of Pineview Reservoir and Huntsville between 12:45 to 1:30 p.m.
- The finish line is located at 3925 Snow Basin Road. Spectator traffic should use State Route 167 to access Harmons Healthy Living Expo, VIP Hospitality and other finish line activities at Snowbasin Resort.
Wednesday, Aug. 2, Stage 3, Big Cottonwood Canyon
5.6 miles – 1,725 feet of climbing
Start Time 11 a.m.
Finish Time 1:45 p.m.
Start Location – Donut Falls Trailhead on Big Cottonwood Canyon Rd
Finish Location – 8183 S. Brighton Loop Rd, Brighton, UT 84121
Making a return to the Tour of Utah from a six-year absence is the popular individual time trial, known as the race against the clock. In 2011, American Tejay Van Garderen (riding for HTC-Highroad) won the Stage 3 ITT on his 23rd birthday at Miller Motorsports Park. The 2017 ITT will look nothing like the flat parcours of the race track. Starting at an elevation of 7,300 feet, the course climbs 1,725 vertical feet and provides a tough 5.6-mile ascent of Big Cottonwood Can-yon Road, from the Donut Falls Trailhead parking at Reynolds Gulch to the front door of Bright-on Ski Resort. The route passes Solitude Ski Resort and the turnoff to Guardsman Pass, flanked along the road by towering spruce trees and rock vistas that are part of the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest. With an average gradient of 5.5%, the course should favor a strong rider who excels at high altitude.
“ITT's are unique races, but they are fun to watch and you really get to see every rider,” said the former collegiate road champion and Utah native Cortlan Brown, a teammate with Squire on Canyon Bicycles-Scott. “It’s a beautiful canyon, it’s a great place to come spend the day and watch a bike race. Watch some of the best cyclists going full gas up some of the steepest parts of the canyon.”
Tour Tips Stage 3:
- The six-mile section of Big Cottonwood Canyon Road used for the ITT will CLOSE TO ALL VEHICULAR TRAFFIC beginning at 9 a.m.
- There is no public parking at Brighton Resort, or along S. Guardsman Pass Road.
- There will be limited parking at Solitude Mountain Resort, which will be available until 9 a.m.
- Utah Transit Authority will operate its ski bus service route along Big Cottonwood Canyon on the day of the ITT. Buses will operate beginning at 7 a.m. from the Big Cottonwood Canyon Park & Ride lot only.
- Limited shuttle service will circulate between the ITT start and finish lines before the race begins.
- Check the Tour website for all parking and shuttle updates – www.tourofutah.com/stages/3
Thursday, Aug. 3, Stage 4 presented by Workfront, South Jordan to South Jordan
125 miles – 4,000 feet of climbing
Start Time 8:55 a.m.
Finish Time 1:45 p.m.
Start/Finish Location – 10996 S. Redwood Rd, South Jordan, UT 84095
This wild west stage covers 129 miles with a new start/finish in South Jordan, and could be the sleeping monster of the 2017 Tour of Utah. The inaugural start/finish in South Jordan, located on Redwood Road next to South Jordan City Park. The race will use 14000 South to reach the Mountain View Corridor and head to the west desert and Rush Valley on State Roads 73 and 36. The out-and-back section of SR 73 will offer a Utah Sports Commission Sprint line in Cedar Fort in both directions. The race uses a 36-mile section of SR 73, and a 15-mile section of SR 36.
The peloton will connect to the old Pony Express Trail in Tooele County and cross Five Mile Pass. This is not significant for the elevation gain, but rather for its history as a main thorough-fare in the 1800s for the stagecoach and pioneer families heading west. Here in the shadows of the Oquirrh Mountains, riders will find little protection from the elements, especially the wind. Another surprise for the riders will be Faust Road, a previously paved surface that is now 10 miles of maintained dirt and gravel. There will be two finishing circuits of three miles each around South Jordan City Park.
- The first pass through Cedar Fort for a Utah Sports Commission Sprint line is between 9:55 to 10:20 a.m.
- The second pass through Cedar Fort for the second Utah Sports Commission Sprint line will be contested in Cedar Fort between 12:15 to 1 p.m.
- After passing Saratoga Springs and Bluffdale along Redwood Road on the return back to South Jordan, the race will move northbound on Mountain View Corridor, then using W. 11400 South and 4000 West to turn east on South Jordan Parkway. Expect the race to pass in these areas between 12:50 to 1:30 p.m.
- The race will turn south on Redwood Road for two finish circuits around South Jordan City Park – South on Redwood Road, right on W. 11400 South, right on 2200 West, right on South Jordan Parkway, and right on Redwood Road.
Friday, Aug. 4, Stage 5 presented by Zions Bankd, Layton to Bountiful
115 miles – 4,200 feet of climbing
Start Time 9:10 a.m.
Finish Time 1:45 p.m.
Start Location – 465 N. Wasatch Dr, Layton, UT 84041
Finish Location – 20 S. Main St., Bountiful, UT 84010
The Tour is back in Davis County for a third consecutive year, which is quickly becoming a fan favorite for the Tour of Utah with big crowds and dynamic racing. New for 2017 will be an inaugural stage start in Layton, which will provide spectators with two opportunities to view the race. The 115-mile course rolls toward Hooper and the Great Salt Lake for 53 miles of rural roads in Davis and Weber counties. Passing through downtown Layton for a second time, the Utah Sports Commission Sprint line will be staged at Wasatch Drive.
A new section of the course will take State Road 93 to access Hill Air Force Base for the first time, using the South Gate Entrance. The military base is the home of the F-16 and F-35 fighter jets, and provides worldwide engineering and logistics management for the F-16 Fighting Fal-con, A-10 Thunderbolt II, and Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile. The route will fol-low Foulois Road to Wardleigh Road, exiting near the Hill Aerospace Museum, the largest mu-seum west of the Mississippi River.
The route will follow sections of U.S. Highway 89 and Mountain Road to reach the nine-mile circuits in Bountiful, with the crushing climbs up the Bountiful Bench used each of the past two years. Each pass over the Bountiful Bench is designated as a Utah Office of Tourism KOM climb. There is always a close finish on Main Street at Center Street, with the peloton racing in the northbound direction. The winner is going to be a strong rouleur who can get over the climbs and outkick those few remaining in the peloton.
“400 North is a classic Bountiful climb to test out your legs,” said Brown, who is from Bountiful and still trains in the area. “I think that there are some great places along 400 North to watch the race, right above Davis Blvd. will show you the steepest part of the climb, or a little higher the views are great and the climb doesn’t let up. The great thing is if you hurry, you can make it downtown to the finish before the race to watch the final.”
- In Layton, the race will roll from N. Wasatch Drive at Constitution Circle, and turn right on Layton Parkway. The race will use 2200 West to turn left on Gentile Street and continue in westbound direc-tion for 7.5 miles.
- The race will return to Main Street and Wasatch Drive a second time for a Utah Sports Commission Sprint line between 11:15 to 11:35 a.m.
- Using Antelope Drive, the race will travel northbound on Hobs Creek Drive for one mile, and turn west on State Route 93 to access the South Gate of Hill Air Force Base. Only authorized vehicles in the race caravan will be permitted on HAFB.
- The race will follow Balmer Avenue, Foulois Road and Wardley roads on the property of HAFB. The race will exit via the Roy Gate, near the Hill Aerospace Museum, between 11:50 a. m. to 12:30 p.m.
- The race is expected to reach Bountiful, using Pages Lane and 400 East to then turn left on 400 North for the first to two laps on the Bountiful Bench climb. The race should make the turn on 400 North between 12:50 to 1:30 p.m.
- After turning left on 400 North, the race will make two complete laps on a circuit that includes Bountiful Boulevard, Indian Springs Rd., 400 East, Davis Boulevard, 400 East, 1800 South, Orchard Dr., 500 South, and on to Main Street. The race will then turn right onto 200 North to 400 East, turn left at 400 East and return to 400 North.
Saturday, Aug. 5, Stage 6 presented by University of Utah Health, Heber Valley to Snowbird Resort
61 miles – 7,700 feet of climbing
Start Time 1:10 p.m.
Finish Time 3:45 p.m.
Start Location – 2002 Soldier Hollow Dr., Midway, UT 84049
Finish Location – 100 Little Cottonwood Canyon, Snowbird, UT 84092
The Queen Stage with the epic finish at Snowbird Resort has traditionally had a big impact on who wins the G.C. of the Tour of Utah. Don’t let the mileage fool you. At 62 miles, the course is much shorter than previous editions, but that just means the race will be that much harder and more dynamic. This year’s course harkens back to the original route over Alpine Loop that was introduced in 2006. It is the second time a stage has started in the southeast corner of the Heber Valley in the shadow of Mount Timpanogos at Soldier Hollow, where nordic competitions were held for the 2002 Olympic Winter Games. The entire area sits in Wasatch Mountain State Park. After rolling out from the stadium at Soldier Hollow, the racers will only have a few miles around Deer Creek Reservoir before tackling the Alpine Loop, a Category 1 climb that runs be-side Sundance Resort. Passing through American Fork Canyon and Timpanogos Cave National Monument, this route was first used on the Queen Stage in 2008. The route travels through the cities of Draper and Sandy before passing throngs of fans at Tanners Flat for the final fireworks on the Hors Category climb to Snowbird Resort. This is the 10th consecutive year that Snowbird Resort has hosted a stage finish, with the signature climb featuring 8-12 percent gradients on the final six miles through Little Cottonwood Canyon.
“Snowbird is a legendary stage and as long as the climb up to there is included it will be deci-sive. I marked it on the calendar last year the day after I was 6th on that stage,” said Squire.
And pro cyclists are not the only ones on the route Saturday. Amateur riders in The Ultimate Challenge presented by University of Utah Health will ride the same roads on Saturday between 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. If you are traveling on the roads, use caution and watch for cyclists! This marks the eighth year for this non-competitive, gran fondo-style bicycle ride. Registration for The Ultimate Challenge is available online for $140, with a team discount offered for groups of eight or more.
- The race will turn west on Highway 92/Alpine Scenic Loop and is expected to pass Sundance Resort between 1:40 to 1:50 p.m.
- The race will continue westbound on Hwy 92 for 27 miles. A Utah Office of Tourism King of the Mountain is located at the summit of American Fork Canyon, with racers expected to crest this area between 2 to 2:15 p.m.
- Along Hwy 92 the race will pass Timpanogos Cave National Monument, expected between 2:15 to 2:25 p.m.
- The race will pass north through Draper on 1300 East for a Utah Sports Commission Sprint line between 2:50 to 3:25 p.m.
- Little Cottonwood Canyon Road will be closed to all vehicular and bicycle traffic between 1 to 5 p.m. Plan your arrival to the finish line accordingly. Follow signs at Snowbird to free spectator parking.
Sunday, Aug. 6, Stage 7 presented by Utah Sports Commission, Salt Lake City to Salt Lake City
73 miles – 5,450 feet of climbing
Start Time 1:10 p.m.
Finish Time 3:45 p.m.
Start/Finish Location – 315 E. Capitol St., Salt Lake City, UT 84103
The original Salt Lake City circuit is back. With the start/finish line on the east side of the Utah State Capital, this circuit is the one used in 2013 and is a favorite of the racers and spectators alike. There will be 11 laps of the 6.8-mile circuit, including two intermediate sprints and a time bonus at the finish for the top three. The overall race champion may not be decided until the very end. The major climb of the circuit is along State Street, and provides a great opportunity to see the racers up close as they suffer on this steep section. Other viewing areas include Bonneville Blvd. around City Creek Canyon, a fast turn from 11th Ave. to N. Virginia St. at Pop-perton Park, and the serpentine turns around Reservoir Park.
“As a fan, this has been one of my favorite stages to watch,” added Brown. “Camping out on State Street is a great idea, or around the Capitol. But if you want to see the real speed that the racers will reach, N. Virginia St. would be another awesome place to view the race.”
Squire added, “State Street is an excellent viewing spot, because it is right next to the finish and is likely where most of the racing action will be. That being said, the speeds at which we will come out of The Avenues and approach the finish is always impressive and worth checking out.”
- Police will begin closing the roads to traffic on the circuit at approximately 12:45 p.m.
- Each lap is expected to take approximately 20 minutes to complete.
- The race will pass Reservoir Park three times on each circuit, allowing for multiple opportuni-ties to see professional cyclists up close and at high speed.
- The State Street climb, between North Temple and the Capitol, is a great place to see the best pro cyclists tackle the steepest section of the course.
- Pedestrians are welcome to walk the course. However, we request that you stay on the side-walks, and do not impede the movement of local residents, police and course marshals who will be using the respites between circuits to move people in and out of the neighborhoods.
- Use a GREENbike to reach the course. Check the website for bike stations near the course – https://greenbikeslc.org/station-map.
- Use Utah Transit Authority’s TRAX Blue Line or Green Line for easy access to course from the City Center stop (100 S. Main Street). One-way ticket is $2.50; Day Pass is $6.25.
For more information on the Tour of Utah, see https://www.cyclingutah.com/articles-about-tour-of-utah/ and also tourofutah.com