By Jared Eborn — Starting in Southern Utah’s scenic red rock canyons, passing through a national park and national monuments, cruising through the Beehive State’s capitol city before winding up with some of the most punishing climbs in American cycling, the 2013 Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah is back and is, more than ever, a tour of the state.
Beginning on August 6 at Brian Head Resort with an elevation of higher than 9,600 feet and passing through Bryce Canyon National Park before turning north, the Tour of Utah boasts a course that certainly lives up to the race’s trademark of being America’s Toughest Stage Race.
With 126 athletes representing 32 countries and 16 teams the field is loaded with past Olympians, Grand Tour winners and past champions that will contest each of the 586 miles and 43,621 feet of grueling vertical gain.
“An accomplished group of riders with impressive racing credentials will be competing in the Tour of Utah this year. In our ninth year, we have attracted our largest field of international athletes, representing 32 countries. Spectators can enjoy world-class competition from southern Utah to the Wasatch Front,” said Steve Miller, president of Miller Sports Properties, which organizes the Tour of Utah.
Some of the top athletes from ProTeams include fan-favorites Jens Voigt and Chris Horner of Radioshack Leopard Trek; Christian Vande Velde, Dave Zabriskie and Ryder Hesjedal of Team Garmin-Sharp; Michael Schaer of BMC Racing Team; as well as Baden Cooke and Michael Matthews of Orica GreenEDGE. Five UCI World Tour teams will be on hand to duke it out on Utah’s roads as North America’s pro cycling calendar begins its most difficult and competitive stretch.
Former Tour of Utah champions Jeff Louder of UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling and Francisco Mancebo of 5-hour Energy presented by Kenda Racing Team are also back.
Among the crew of youngsters in the field include two Utahns with the Bontrager Cycling Team, reigning U23 U.S. National Road Race Champion Tanner Putt of Park City and Connor O’Leary of Salt Lake City, who finished sixth in the U23 road race nationals. Others with connections to Utah in the field include two riders on Team Jamis – Hagens Berman – Jamey Driscoll of Park City and former Salt Lake City resident Tyler Wren.
The Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah continues to be free to all spectators, making professional cycling one of the most unique pro sports in the world today. Fans can follow the race live each day with mobile applications from Tour Tracker powered by Adobe, as well as live coverage each day on FOX Sports Network.