17 February 2011

2011 Tour of Utah Route Announced

Yesterday, at the state capitol, the host cities, and route were announced for the 2011 Tour of Utah, which will take place on August 9-14.

Unfortunately, due to the fact that this blog is a "labor of love" instead of a source of income and I was not able to take time away from the daytime job, I was unable to attend. Thanks to twitter, however, I was able to keep up with the route unveiling.

Here is the overall route for the 2011 Tour of Utah.  
  • Tuesday, August 9 Park City - Prologue
  • Wednesday, August 10 Ogden - Stage 1, Road Race
  • Thursday, August 11 Provo - Stage 2, Road Race
  • Friday, August 12 Miller Motorsports Park - Stage 3, Individual Time Trial
  • Saturday August 13 Salt Lake City - Stage 4, Circuit Race
  • Sunday, August 14 Park City to Snowbird Ski & Summer Resort - Stage 5, Road Race
From what I can see, there is nothing terribly surprising to this year's course. A couple of the stages, such as Sunday's Queen Stage: Park City to Snowbird race - which has become the signature stage for the Tour of Utah, and the Individual Time Trial at Miller Motorsports park have made a return. Provo is returning as a host city after a 5 year hiatus - It was the finish city for one of the stages in the 2006 Tour of Utah. Ogden is also making a return as a host city.

New to the Tour of Utah is the prologue course. Traditionally held at the Stage capitol, it has been moved to Park City for this year. I can only hope that they include Park City's historic Main Street as part of the prologue course. Also new is the Salt lake City Circuit race. They have held a criterion in Salt Lake City in the past as part of the Tour of Utah, but I understand that this is a longer course, and is in a location in the city that has not been used before.

Just to clear up any misunderstanding, by me saying "nothing terribly surprising", I am not saying there is anything wrong with this year's route. They have worked out a great route, that will still have an insane amount of climbing and will prove to be challenging to the riders, and exciting to the fans watching. It would be nice to see the Tour of Utah leave the confines of the Wasatch Front, and venture down south, but there are understandably some logistical problems with that, such as the oppressive heat in mid-August and a lack of lodging facilities.

Also new to this year, is the fact that last month, the Tour of Utah had been elevated by the UCI to a 2.1-rated event for the UCI America Tour. What that means, is that the Tour of Utah joins the Quiznos Pro Challenge in Colorado and the Amgen Tour of California as the only top-rated stage races in North America. This will allow us to draw more top-level Pro teams to Utah. The total prize money has been increased from $45,000 to $116,000.

15 teams will be invited to race, including international and domestic teams. The organizers have announced that invitations have been extended to 4 ProTour teams already:
  • Team RadioShack, home for defending Tour of Utah champion Levi Leipheimer
  • HTC-Highroad, No. 1 team in the world
  • Team Garmin-CervĂ©lo, home for World Champion Thor Hushovd
  • BMC Racing Team, new team for 2010 Tour of Utah Prologue winner Taylor Phinney
The 2011 Tour of Utah is shaping up to be spectacular!

You can find Official information at http://www.tourofutah.com/, and race fans are encouraged to follow updates on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.


Zach said...

I noticed a couple of notable differences.

1) It looks like the stage that has gone from Ogden to finish at the Univ of Utah has been extended so that it will return to Ogden via an urban route, probably Hwy 89. Big mountains followed by a long flat to the finish... good day for a breakaway to stick!

2) The Thanksgiving Point - Mount Nebo stage from the last few years now looks like it will be finishing in Provo. Looks like a flat course similar to the ULCER ride. Finally, a TOU stage for the Sprinters?

3) As you mentioned, the crit seems to have been lengthened. We'll know more when the stage details are released, but it looks like it will be a spectator-friendly event in SLC. I hope it incorporates some of the downtown - East Bench hills. Can you imagine climbing 800 South from 9th East to Foothill 6 or 7 times in a race? UGH!

All in all, it's great to see the host cities and vague route outlines. I can't wait for the full route details!!

Jake Spurlock said...

Do you really need to have logging facilities in the south for a race?

Bike Junkie said...

Thanks for the input, Zach. Typo fixed, thanks Jake.