Tour of Utah unveils 2016 plan
Spotlighting the famous red rock country adjacent to several national parks, the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah professional cycling event will begin in southern Utah for a third time. At an announcement in the Megaplex Theatres at The Gateway, organizers of the Tour of Utah revealed the 13 cities and venues that will host the annual professional men’s road cycling stage race. Scheduled for Aug. 1-7, 2016, the event will begin outside Zion National Park, the southernmost point in Utah of the event’s 12-year history, and finish on Historic Main Street in Park City.
Three venues are hosting the Tour for the first time — Escalante, Kearns and Zion Canyon Village. Park City and Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort have the longest tenure as host venues, having served for eight and nine consecutive years, respectively. The additional host venues are Antelope Island State Park, Bountiful, Cedar City, IM Flash (Lehi), Payson, Richfield, Snowbasin Resort and Torrey. Thirteen is the highest number of venues for one race since 2014, when the Tour expanded from six to seven days of racing and 12 communities served as the start and finish hosts.
The overall start of the Tour of Utah will commence at Zion Canyon Village, which sits 163 miles from Las Vegas, Nevada. This 12-acre business district is located outside the south entrance to Zion National Park. On the second day of the race, Escalante will host a stage start for the first time. The race passed through this community in two previous visits to Garfield County (2013, 2014). Escalante is adjacent to the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, positioned between Bryce Canyon National Park and Capitol Reef National Park.
While the Tour has passed through Salt Lake County 10 of the past 12 years, the 2016 race will mark the inaugural finish in the township of Kearns in the southern part of the county. The Utah Olympic Oval is located in Kearns, which hosted the long-track speed skating events for the 2002 Olympic Winter Games. This five-acre facility is known as the "Fastest Ice on Earth" and is the home to more than 100 world records in speed skating.
"Each year the Tour of Utah changes the race route, following a tradition of other UCI stage races in the world. We are able to showcase more communities across the state, as well as to provide a variety of courses for the top professional cycling teams each August. With 2016 being the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service in the United States, we are privileged to highlight these world-famous parks at the start of race week," said Jenn Andrs, executive director of the Tour of Utah.
Known as "America’s Toughest Stage Race," the 2015 Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah featured 712 miles of racing and 51,422 feet of elevation gain. The 2016 Tour of Utah continues to be sanctioned by both USA Cycling and the UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale). As a 2.HC-rated UCI America Tour event, the Tour of Utah is one of the top professional cycling events in North America.
Details regarding each stage route (race mileage, elevation gain, start/finish times) and spectator festivities will be announced in the spring. Plans will also be confirmed for a third year of women’s racing in the Tour of Utah Women’s Edition in the coming months.
An attendance record was set in 2015 with 380,000 spectators over the seven days of racing. A new high of $22 million in economic impact was generated at the Tour of Utah for the state. The event was the only stage race in North America to feature start-to-finish live webcasting, viewed by users from 139 countries. More than 21 hours of national television coverage was provided by FOX Sports and FOX Sports Networks, including 14 hours of live racing.
The Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah continues to be free to all spectators, making professional cycling one of the most unique professional sports in the world today. More information about the Tour of Utah and the host venues can be found by visiting http://www.tourofutah.com, as well as social channels Facebook (tourofutah), Twitter (@tourofutah, #TOU16 #TOUWE16), and Instagram (thetourofutah).
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