Tour of Utah applies for date change in 2018

American 2.HC race seeks less-crowded calendar spot during the second week of August

The Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah hopes to move back a week on the UCI calendar next season to the second week of August, precipitating a date change for the Colorado Classic as well if the UCI approves and the inaugural race that starts Thursday in Colorado Springs returns for a second run.

"We have applied to move the date back from this current week where we sit to August 6-13, 2018," Tour of Utah Executive Director Jen Anders said during the final press conference following the 2017 race last week.

This year's race in Utah [July 31 - August 6] had to forgo some of the traditional stages in Park City because of conflicts with an arts festival in the tourism-dependent mountain town.

The queen stage on Saturday, August 5, had to be shortened to just 100km and did not go up Guardsman Pass before the final climb to Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort as in previous years. The climb up American Fork Canyon on the Alpine Loop was substituted instead.

Likewise, the final stage of this year's race was moved from Park City to Salt Lake City for a short circuit race. In year's past, the final stage started and finished in Park City and took riders over Empire Pass for a final day in the high mountains.

Anders did not provide details of why the race was asking for a date change, but its current dates made it hard to attract WorldTour teams, as evidenced by a single WorldTour entrant in 2017, down from as many as six in 2014.

Proximity to WorldTour races like the Tour of Poland, Clasica San Sebastian, Ride London Classic and BinckBank Tour and the 2.HC Vuelta a Burgos made the seven-day Utah race a tough draw. Even among the three American-registered WorldTour teams, only BMC was able to put together a roster for Utah this year.

If both the Utah and Colorado races move back one spot on the calendar next year, they would also be closer to the current dates for the Tour of Alberta and the WorldTour races in Quebec and Montreal that follow. The block of north American races could be a more attractive draw for European WorldTour teams.

Anders said she expects final world on the date changes after the UCI commission meets in September. Next year will be the 14th for the Tour of Utah.

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