Tour of Utah plans 2022 return under direction of Medalist Sports

Ben Hermans (Israel Cycling Academy) was the last winner of the Tour of Utah
Ben Hermans (Israel Cycling Academy) was the last winner of the Tour of Utah (Image credit: Getty Images)

Organisers of the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah have confirmed that a restart for the US stage race in 2022 will take place under the direction of Medalist Sports after the cancellation of this year's race.

Medalist Sports, a full-service sports management company, has administered numerous major races in the US including the Tour of California, USA Pro Challenge, Tour de Georgia and Tour of Missouri.

A licensing agreement has been reached between the Larry H. Miller Group of Companies, which has owned the Tour of Utah since the 2008 edition, and Medalist Sports to operate the stage race, which was a UCI 2.Pro-level event when it was last held in 2019, and the Tour of Utah Ultimate Challenge, a non-competitive Gran Fondo-style endurance event for amateur riders.

The Tour of Utah had been the highest-ranked men’s stage race in North America. The 2020 event was part of the wave of global sports cancellations due to the COVID-19 coronavirus, and this year’s edition had been scheduled to take place July 26 to August 1. 

Last completed in 2019, the overall title was won by Ben Hermans (Israel Start-Up Nation). The year before it was the breakout year for young American Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma).

“Our goals of bringing world-class cycling to our local communities and showcasing the beauty of our state through the eyes of sport continue,” said race chairman Steve Miller. “The Tour of Utah has grown in stature and respect through the years, and we are thankful for the support of countless volunteers, loyal corporate partners, committed host cities and fanatic cycling enthusiasts. It has been an honor to conduct this race around the state for the past 15 years.

“We are now excited to support Medalist Sports in their operations and planning of these events,” Miller said. “Medalist has familiarity with the Tour of Utah and tremendous experience and expertise in conducting cycling events. We are particularly grateful for our partnerships with the Utah Sports Commission, the Utah Office of Tourism, and USA Cycling through the years. For everyone involved, the Tour of Utah is a labor of love.”

This is not the first time the Tour of Utah has undergone a metamorphosis. The Tour of Utah began in 2004 as a three-day cycling event for amateur and elite cyclists over the Memorial Day weekend in May. In December 2006, the Miller family, which owned the Larry H. Miller Group of Companies, formed the Utah Cycling Partnership and purchased the race, but by March of 2007 a shortfall in funding led to a year-long hold on the race. It then relaunched in 2008 to a full week on late-summer dates and began to progressively move up in status as a UCI-sanctioned event.

Medalist Sports, headquartered outside of Atlanta, Georgia, began working with the Tour of Utah in 2011, the year the race was elevated to the UCI Americas Tour, and has supported the one-day Ultimate Challenge in Utah since 2016.

“Medalist Sports is committed to hosting a safe, successful and quality event while maintaining the integrity and legacy of the Tour of Utah “We are grateful to the Miller family for their support of the sport and the Utah community and their ongoing partnership with Medalist,”  said Chris Aronhalt, managing partner of Medalist Sports, which specializing in road cycling and cause-related events. “We look forward to sharing more information as we plan for the future.”

Aronhalt launched Medalist Sports in partnership with Jim Birrell in 2004, focused on operations for the Tour de Georgia, then the launch of the Tour of California. Aronhalt had served as the chief operating officer for the first year of the Tour de Georgia the year before. Medalist Sports upped the ante for the blossoming Peach State race and landed participation from the main draws of pro cycling at the time, such as Lance Armstrong and his U.S. Postal team and Mario Cipollini and his Italian-based Domina Vacanze squad.

Both big-time stage races have faced, with the Georgia race ending in 2008, and the Tour of California going into hiatus status for 2020, and the foreseeable future. This leaves the Maryland Cycling Classic p/b UnitedHealthcare, on September 5 - also organised by Medalist Sports, as the only UCI ProSeries race, a 1.Pro event, in the US this year. Organisers for the Joe Martin Stage Race and Tour of the Gila are awaiting UCI approval for new dates in late summer as 2.2-rated stage races.

The last edition of the Tour of Utah covered 477 miles and 37,882 feet of elevation gain, with 115 riders from 17 teams. Organisers of “America’s Toughest Stage Race” said attracted 400,000 spectators during race week and reached more than 400 million homes via broadcast coverage around the world. The route covered 477 miles of racing and 37,882 feet of elevation gain.

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