Organisers of the 2019 Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah have announced details for the 15th edition of the seven-day UCI 2.HC race, which starts August 12 with a short uphill prologue time trial to Snowbird Resort and concludes August 18 with the traditional Park City stage that finishes with the climb and descent of Empire Pass.
The 767.8km race features 13 classified climbs and 15 intermediate sprints throughout the prologue and six stages, with the major challenges for the overall contenders coming on day 3 [stage 2] from Brigham City to Powder Mountain Resort and again during the Park City stage on the final day. The event that bills itself as "America's Toughest Stage Race" will feature a total of 11,546.4 metres of elevation gain.
The general classification hunt will be established early on with the Snowbird prologue, which takes in 200 metres of elevation gain over just 5.3km. Riders begin climbing in Little Cottonwood Canyon almost immediately before a short descent and then more climbing to just past the halfway mark. A descent comes next before a final brief rise to the finish in front of the Snowbird Lodge.
Riders shouldn't count on any rest during the 'non-climbing' days, as a new route for stage 1 in North Logan City features two loops around Little Mountain and five fast finishing laps back in town for 1,314 metres of elevation gain on a lumpy 139.9km course.
After the GC pecking order is set in the first day's uphill prologue, the contenders for overall victory will get another chance to stake their claims to the 2019 Utah title during the stage 2 climb to Powder Mountain Resort, which includes grades of up to 16 per cent and tops out at 2,712 metres of elevation.
The long, mostly flat preamble to the climb includes just one category 2 climb of North Ogden Divide less than halfway through the race, setting up the final 10km as a real GC showdown. Tom Danielson won the stage here in 2014 on his way to his second overall win, but this year's route goes another 2.25km above the tree line for a challenging finish at Hidden Lake Lodge.
Stage 3 from Antelope Island State Park to North Salt Lake takes in the climbs to Bountiful Bench and Eagles Ridge for nearly 1,800 metres of climbing over 138.3km. With time gaps expanding on the Powder Mountain climb the previous day, stage 3 could be a good day for the opportunists to try and escape with a stage win.
The popular Salt Lake City circuit race returns for Friday evening on a course that will be familiar to veterans of the race. The 10.8km circuit is the same course that was introduced in 2013 [won by Michael Matthews] and used again in 2017 [won by Marco Canola]. The peloton will cover eight laps for a quick 86.5km and a finish in front of the Utah State Capitol.
In a change from what had become the traditional queen stage to Snowbird on the penultimate day, stage 5 starts and finishes at the Canyons Village in Park City and takes in two category 4 climbs of Jordanelle and Browns Canyon and the category 2 climb through the Utah Olympic Park. A descent leads to another uphill run to the finish back at Canyons Village. There are no consecutive climbs over Guardsman Pass and Little Cottonwood Canyon for the queen stage this year, but the technical finale and vertical gain over the last 10km could shake up the GC again.
The final day will also start and finish in Park City in what has become the traditional conclusion at the Tour of Utah. The familiar 125.9km course, which takes in the climbs of Wolf Creek [category 2] at 56km and Empire Pass [hors category] at 114km, features 3,051 metres of climbing and a hair-raising descent down the backside of Empire Pass for a finish on Main Street.
"This year's Tour of Utah has a number of exciting route highlights, from a new overall start at Snowbird Resort to the popular circuit race at the Capitol on Friday evening," said John Kimball, managing director of the Tour of Utah. "The return of Powder Mountain Resort this year will certainly be an epic stage. A true champion among the 120-plus athletes will be crowned at the end of the race week in Park City."
The Tour of Utah announced earlier this year 14 of the 17 teams that will take the start line in August, including WorldTour teams EF Education First and Trek-Segafredo.
Pro Continental team Neri Sottoli-Selle Italia-KTM from Italy will compete in the race for the first time, while Hagens Berman Axeon, Israel Cycling Academy, Nippo-Vini Fantini-Faizanè and Rally UHC Cycling will be making return appearances. The Manzana Postobon team had been invited, but the Colombian program recently folded after several anti-doping violations among the team's riders.
The Continental teams invited so far are represented by five US teams and Team Bridgelane from Australia. The US teams include the 303 Project, Aevolo, Arapahoe-Hincapie p/b BMC, Elevate-KHS and Wildlife Generation-Maxxis. The race said more teams will be added later this spring.
2019 Tour of Utah
Prologue - Snowbird Resort - 5.3km
Stage 1 - North Logan City - 139.9km
Stage 2 - Brigham City to Powder Mountain Resort - 135.8km
Stage 3 - Antelope Island State Park to North Salt Lake - 138.3km
Stage 4 - Salt Lake City - 86.5km
Stage 5 - Canyons Village at Park City to Canyons Village at Park City - 137km
Stage 6 - Park City to Park City - 125.9