The Tour of Utah's fifth stage, which ended in Kamas on Friday, may be over, but there's still plenty of cycling action scheduled for Summit County this weekend.
Though Stage 6, scheduled to begin at Rice-Eccles Stadium and end at Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort, starts and finishes in Salt Lake City, a large portion of the 107.2-mile ride will occur in Summit County.
Heading northeast from Salt Lake City, riders will turn south at Henefer and travel through Coalville and Peoa before crossing through Park City and heading over Guardsman Pass toward Snowbird.
BMC Racing Team rider Brent Bookwalter told The Park Record last week (see story on page B-1) that Stage 6 is one of his favorite stages to ride, but racing it is difficult.
"It depends on if I'm racing it or just riding it," he laughed when asked what his favorite stage of the race was. "Stage 6 being able to start in a metropolitan area like Salt Lake and get right out of town and get into the amazing countryside, climb up to Park City and over Guardsman Pass into Snowbird you're hitting so many premier sections of road in the area. It's really beautiful and severely challenging. When it comes to race day, it won't be my favorite stage because we'll all be suffering a lot."
Stage 6 features 12,643 feet of elevation gain, the most elevation gain of any stage on the Tour. It will begin at 10:50 a.m. and is scheduled to end around 3:45 p.m.
Sunday's Stage 7 will start on Main Street in Park City before heading east toward Peoa.
Between Midway and the finish back on Main Street in Park City, riders will face one of the toughest sections in the entire Tour a climb up Empire Pass. Featuring an average 10-percent gradient that sometimes reaches as high as 20 percent, riders will have to push their limits to reach the top.
In a previous interview with The Park Record, Ryan Eastman of the Bissell Development Team said the Empire Pass portion of Stage 7 would be incredibly challenging for all riders.
"I rode up Empire the other day," he said a couple weeks ago. "I did a 30-minute interval, finished, and still had to ride another 20 minutes up to the top of the climb that was ridiculous. Not too many races are like that. You don't do too many races throughout the year where people are constantly talking about how hard the climbs are."
After reaching the top of Empire, riders will begin a high-speed descent toward the finish line, reaching speeds around 60 mph.
Stage 7 starts at 12:20 p.m. and ends at 3:45 p.m. on Park City's Main Street.
-- Adam Spencer