Organizers of the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah unveiled the six cities and venues which will host the 2012 edition of the world-class, professional cycling stage race and community festival. Entering its second year as one of the top-rated events in North America for professional road cyclists, the Tour of Utah will continue as a UCI 2.1-rated stage race for 16 teams over six days of competition, August 7-12, 2012.
Not since 2006 has the Tour held six full stages, forgoing a Prologue for the start. For the first time, the overall start of the Tour of Utah will be hosted in Ogden, in the northern part of the state nestled between the Great Salt Lake and the Wasatch Front mountain range. Gaining world-wide attention for its high adventure recreation year round, Ogden will host the Tour for a fifth year in 2012. Another milestone in the eight-year history of the Tour of Utah will be the introduction of a Team Time Trial.
“The Tour of Utah continues to grow in stature as a major cycling event in North America. When you get calls from teams around the world to come to Utah, then you know you are doing something right. We thought the timing was right this year to launch a new brand for the event, and you’ll see more changes in the coming months. It takes a great deal of support from all our partners, the State of Utah, civic and county leaders, special venues, sponsors, volunteers and our loyal fans. We value all this support as it keeps Utah at the forefront of professional sports around the calendar,” said Steve Miller, president of the Utah Cycling Partnership which owns the Tour of Utah.
The Overall Start on Tuesday, August 7 makes its debut in Ogden. This hub for outdoor enthusiasts will host teams and staff for several days prior to the race start, with the Marriott Ogden serving as the headquarters hotel. It is also the fifth consecutive year that Miller Motorsports Park, Salt Lake City and Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort have hosted stages. Park City will host the Tour for a fourth year, and for the first time the year-round resort town will host the Overall Finish on Sunday, August 12. The signature climbing route from Park City to Snowbird, known as the “Queen Stage”, moves from the final Sunday of race week to Saturday. It was last held on Saturday in 2009.
Salt Lake City will host finish lines for Stages Three and Four, with plans underway for a large community celebration on Friday, August 10 following the road race. University of Utah Research Park, 320 acres overlooking the Salt Lake Valley, includes 37 buildings with 42 companies and 69 academic departments. Last year’s Tour included a circuit through the University of Utah campus, and Stage One of the 2010 event finished here. Stage Four will begin in the Lehi area of Utah County, which has seen Tours in past years. This stage is still under development.
The Team Time Trial is one of the most unique features of the 2012 Tour of Utah. This is a technical discipline which holds special interest for cycling fans, and is the only race against the clock for teams at a North American UCI stage race this year. This will be held on day two of the event at Miller Motorsports Park, a state-of-the-art road racing facility in Tooele. Each team rides the course together, and all individuals receive the same time (time recorded for fifth rider to cross the line on each team). The TTT will be part of the Giro d’Italia, Vuelta a España and the 2012 Road World Championships this year. The Tour de France last hosted a TTT in 2011. There was a TTT at the 2008 Tour de Georgia, but it has not been part of other UCI stage races in North America since.
“Last year, my goal clearly was to repeat as the overall champion of the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah. It was an unbelievable victory and a great event. It’s exciting to watch the Tour of Utah succeed and rise in the ranks as a world-class, UCI race,” said Leipheimer, the two-time champion of the Larry H Miller Tour of Utah. The Butte, Montana native, who went to high school in Utah, will race this year for the top-rated Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team based in Belgium. “With all the elevation gains and climbing, I feel that the Tour of Utah is one of the toughest stage races in America today.
“I am also very excited for the addition of the Team Time Trial, as being the only opportunity in the U.S. this year to see and participate in one. The fans are going to love that. I look forward to hopefully defending my title with my Quick-Step teammates in 2012.”
The Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah began as a three-day Thanksgiving Point Stage Race & Cycling Festival over Memorial Day weekend in 2004. The Utah Cycling Partnership, owned by family members from the Larry H. Miller Group of Companies, purchased the event in 2007 and re-launched the cycling event in 2008 as a five-day National Racing Calendar event. Last year the Tour of Utah was elevated by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), the worldwide governing body of cycling, to a 2.1-rated event for the UCI America Tour. The Tour of Utah is now sanctioned by both USA Cycling, Inc. and the UCI.
The Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah continues to be free to all spectators, making professional cycling one of the most unique pro sports in the world today. More than 700 volunteers are encouraged to take part in the event over the course of the week. Official information will be posted at www.tourofutah.com, with updates on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.