Rally Cycling arrived in Cedar City, Utah on Friday with high expectations for this year’s Larry H Miller Tour of Utah, running from August 6 – 12. Rob Britton is the defending champion in the UCI 2.HC ranked stage race and with five WorldTour teams in attendance, the competition for overall supremacy will be intense. The 882 km route includes the brutal Hors Categorie (HC) ascent to Snowbird Resort on stage five and Empire Pass on stage six.
The race carries the moniker “America’s Toughest Stage Race” and this year is no exception. The mountainous parcours demands a roster stocked with climbing talent. Rally Cycling will start Rob Britton, Nigel Ellsay, Evan Huffman, Ty Magner, Kyle Murphy, Emerson Oronte, and Danny Pate.
Last year’s race was a career-defining moment for Britton and he arrives in Utah focused and with a team that can back him up.
“I’m feeling every bit as good as last year which is great,” said Britton. “We had the whole team training in Nederland, CO for a month and I’ve been really impressed with what I’ve seen. We’ve got some great depth for the demands of the course. Our climbers are looking great and Ty is also looking super fit for the sprints.”
In the team’s first year in the professional continental ranks, expectations have grown at the same rate as the talented roster. Aspirations run high for Utah.
“Do it again,” said Britton. “That’s obviously the goal, to repeat. I think the form is there. The rosters that are here will make it more difficult but the team is up to the challenge. I made my gap in the time trial last year and without it, I’ll need to gain time to Snowbird on Saturday and into Park City on Sunday.”
The first yellow jersey will be up for grabs in St. George on Monday, August 6th with a five km out-and-back prologue. It’ll be an opportunity for riders to gain seconds on their competitors before the mountains arrive. Stage one to Cedar City features the highest road in this year’s race, the 15-mile climb to Cedar Breaks National Monument that tops out at 10,600’. With 40 km separating the final climb and the finish, the sprinters should have enough time to catch the peloton and sprint it out for stage honors.
Stage two’s 142 km loop around Payson includes the summit of Mt. Nebo and is expected to finish in a select group of general classification contenders. On Thursday, the peloton starts on Antelope Island for stage three’s 142 km stage, amongst the over 600 bison that call the island home. The stage’s hilly finishing circuit in Layton is another chance for the sprinters to reign supreme.
In its second half, the race returns to downtown Salt Lake City for ten laps of a selective eleven km circuit. This stage is tailor-made for roleurs, riders that can get over the short punchy hills with their sprint intact. Saturday’s 154 km queen stage to Snowbird Resort is where this year’s overall contenders will emerge. Halfway through the stage, the category one climb of Guardsman’s Pass will thin out the field before descending to the base of Little Cottonwood Canyon Rd and the final ascent to Snowbird.
Sunday’s 126 km finale takes the riders back to Park City and the HC climb of Empire Pass. This will be the final chance for riders to move up on the general classification before the screaming descent into downtown Park City.
To watch the race you can download the Tour Tracker app and view the Fox Sports Network schedule here!
Larry H Miller Tour of Utah Roster
Directors: Pat McCarty, Andy Bajadali