For the third time in 15 years of existence, the Tour of Utah is coming to Cache Valley.
Unlike the first two visits, the annual cycling event will be using a different course. Also new this time around is the seven-day race has already begun. In 2017 and 2015, the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah started in Logan.
On Monday, the 2019 version began with a Prologue at Snowbird Resort. So, Stage 1 will be occurring in Cache Valley. North Logan City is the host site this time.
The start/finish line for Tuesday’s action is located next to Meadow View Park (2800 North at 300 East) near the baseball and softball fields for Green Canyon High School and close to the Real Salt Lake Training Center. The stage is scheduled to begin at 12:30 p.m. and finish between 3:45-4 p.m.
The 86.9-mile course for Stage 1 will head west from North Logan on Airport Road, through Benson and out to Newton. The cyclists will then turn north toward Trenton and do two circuits around Little Mountain, where King of the Mountain (KOM) points will be awarded. The circuits are 11.8 miles long.
After the second lap, the riders will head east on Sam Fellow Road to Airport Road and back to North Logan. Once back in North Logan, there will be five “fast and furious” finishing laps, according to tour officials. Riding in a clockwise direction, the cyclists will cover 7.2 miles on each lap, which is expected to take 15-18 minutes to complete.
Canadian James Piccoli will come to North Logan with a six-second lead. The Elevate-KHS Pro Cycling rider was the fastest in Monday’s Prologue. He rode the 3.2-mile course in 8 minutes, 37 seconds.
The 113 riders from 24 countries in this year’s Tour of Utah rode solo. They took off from the start every minute.
Piccoli was one of the last riders Monday. He was able to beat the time of Lawson Craddock (8:43), who ended up in second. Craddock is from the U.S. and rides for EF Education First.
“We’re really happy that we came away with the first stage of the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah. It’s a great confidence boost going into the week,” Piccoli said in a press release. “For sure, seven seconds is not going to be the difference this week between winning and losing with some of the climbs coming up, which are quite beautiful, but also quite hard. But it’s a great way to start the week.”
Piccoli will wear the Larry H. Miller Group of Companies Overall Leader’s jersey on Tuesday.
“I’d like to personally thank everyone from Larry H. Miller Sports and Entertainment for putting their faith in us two years ago,” said Piccoli, who finished 10th overall at the 2017 Tour of Utah. “What they don’t know is that they saved my cycling career. I was probably going to stop cycling and then the team, Elevate-KHS, got an invite here (in Utah), and they signed me for this race specifically. If Elevate-KHS wasn’t invited to this race, I probably wouldn’t be a cyclist right now.”
The Prologue was held in Little Cottonwood Canyon. The riders began with a climb and then the final 1.5 miles was a fast decent, where some riders reached 50 miles per hour.
“It was a really tough prologue,” Piccoli said. “I came to see it with our team Elevate-KHS a couple of days ago and since then I’ve ridden it a couple of times, trying to refine my pacing strategy. It was quite complicated with the altitude here at Snowbird and the corners, and the tricky up and down pacing strategy so I rode it a couple of times, a couple of times hard, and every time I got closer to what I wanted to do. And today it ended up working out.”
A total of 25 riders are now separated by 30 seconds at the top of the standings. Joe Dombrowski (USA) of EF Education First, the overall winner of the 2015 Tour of Utah, is 15 seconds back in seventh place. The 2017 Tour of Utah champion, Canadian Rob Britton of Rally Cycling, is in 14th place, 18 seconds down. Australian Lachlan Morton of EF Education First, the 2016 winner, sits in 16th place, 21 seconds back.
There are many activities for fans each day. The Ford Fan Zone is a reserved space at the finish line for the first 200 spectators. Ford and the Tour of Utah will be throwing out free merchandise.
The KUTV Tour of Utah Lifestyle Expo will be located next to the George S. Eccles Ice Center. The Lifestyle Expo will be open from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Tuesday and will provide food and beverage for purchase, a VIP hospitality area, live race coverage on a jumbo television screen and interactive displays.
There are also other giveaways, and fans can vote for their favorite riders each day.
For a more precise course map, go to the official website of the Tour of Utah at: www.tourofutah.com.