Plans for a southern start for the 2016 Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah ran into a snag this week when the town council of Springdale rejected the race’s bid to make the small town a host city.
According to a report on The Independent website, the race had hoped to start in Springdale, which sits immediately outside the southern border of Zion National Park, but the town’s council rejected the bid by a 3-2 vote during a Monday meeting, having previously approved a “letter of interest” earlier this year.
The Tour of Utah has twice started in the southern end of the state, departing from Cedar City in 2013 and 2014. The race visited northern Utah for the first time this year, departing from Logan and then finishing with the traditional stages in Snowbird and Park City.
This week’s public vote in Springdale indicates the race is looking at another southern start in 2016 to coincide with the National Parks Service’s centennial celebration. The race has already received approval to use the park next year, according to The Independent.
Although costs of hosting the start would largely be covered by donors and volunteers, several councilors expressed concern that the town of 600 people was not prepared to meet all of the requirements for a host city and that Springdale lacked the infrastructure to handle the influx of bikes and people.
“I think some of this stuff on the list [of Tour requirements] is naïve and unrealistic,” councilor Bill Weyher said, according to The Independent. “There’s a whole shopping list of things they expect the town to do which I think we’re ignoring.”
Despite the council’s vote this week, Kevin Lewis, director of Washington County Sports and Outdoor Recreation, said he believed there would be more discussion with the Tour of Utah about including Springdale in the 2016 route.
“They’ve got a good feeling that this is what they’d like to see happen, and I think they’ll do what they can to make it happen – if it’s possible,” he said.