The Tour of Utah bicycle race made its way back to Box Elder County this year, with Brigham City hosting the starting line of the second stage in the seven-day event that draws some of the top racers from all over the world.
After 1.5 ceremonial miles along Main Street in Brigham City, the race officially started on Promontory Road (SR 13) and made a 34-mile loop through the Bear River City and Honeyville areas. After the loop, the race passed through Brigham City again, moving southbound on Main Street. A Utah Sports Commission Sprint line was be contested at the West Forest Street intersection, where festivities were set up for spectators, including kids’ bike races after the tour racers headed south.
The race proceeded south on Highway 89 to Weber County, with a second sprint line in North Ogden, before a King of the Mountain climb up the steep North Ogden Divide.
Once through the narrow, winding pass, the race circled Pineview Reservoir twice, rolling in a counter-clockwise direction. From there it was the final push to complete 7,310 feet of elevation gain for the day to Hidden Lake Lodge on the summit of Powder Mountain. This new section was an extra 1.4 miles above the tree line than was raced in 2015.
Ben Hermans finished near the front once more in the final stage on Sunday, allowing him to wrap up the overall title after taking second in the week-long race a year ago.
Joe Dombrowski won the finale, an 83-mile trek that began and ended in Park City, with 24 seconds to spare over a chase group led by Joao Almeida. Herman and Keegan Swirbul were another two seconds back with James Piccoli, one of the main instigators all week, rounding out the top five.
The finish was enough to give Hermans, riding for the Israel Cycling Academy, a 50-second margin over Piccoli with Dombrowski another 42 seconds back in third place.
The 33-year-old Hermans has experienced something of a rejuvenation this season. He won a stage and the overall at the Tour of Austria before taking the second and third stages in Utah.
“It’s really amazing,” the Belgian said. “I’ve been fourth, second last year, and to win — finally first. I really enjoy it here. It’s amazing to ride for these crowds and to be there on the podium in the yellow jersey is really, really nice.”
Travis McCabe won the white jersey awarded to the race’s top sprinter. Piccolli was crowned most aggressive rider, Almeida was top young rider and Hayden McCormick won the mountains classification.