Billed as “America’s Toughest Stage Race”, the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah announced its overall route and host cities today for its 7th edition. The six-day stage race is scheduled for August 9-14 and will be holding, for the first time in its history, a UCI 2.1 ranking. With the new UCI ranking, organizers have increased prize money from $45,000 to $116,000.
Similar to last year’s edition, the 2011 race is expected to cover over 400 miles and feature nearly 30,000 feet of climbing and should incorporate some of the country’s most stunning scenery and epic climbs along the Wasatch Front in central and northern Utah.
Changes to the course this year, gone is the Prologue in Salt Lake City, gone is the Park City Criterium or any crit for that matter as they are not allowed in a UCI stage race. The race starts with a new opening Prologue in Park City on Tuesday, August 9. Next two days are two road stages each starting and ending in Ogden and Provo respectively. Miller Motorsports Park will host the Individual Time Trial for the fourth consecutive year. Saturday brings a new stage, a circuit race in Salt Lake City and the race ends with the Queen Stage, the epic Park City to Snowbird Ski & Summer Resort.
- Tuesday, August 9 Park City – Prologue
- Wednesday, August 10 Ogden – Stage 1, Road Race
- Thursday, August 11 Provo – Stage 2, Road Race
- Friday, August 12 Miller Motorsports Park – Stage 3, Individual Time Trial
- Saturday August 13 Salt Lake City – Stage 4, Circuit Race
- Sunday, August 14 Park City to Snowbird Ski & Summer Resort – Stage 5, Road Race
Event organizers also confirmed four of the top international teams have been extended invitations to compete, a first for the annual event.
- Team RadioShack, home for defending Tour of Utah champion Levi Leipheimer
- HTC-Highroad, No. 1 team in the world
- Team Garmin-Cervélo, home for World Champion Thor Hushovd
- BMC Racing Team, new team for 2010 Tour of Utah Prologue winner Taylor Phinney
“It was a great week in Utah last year. The whole week was hard, a hard course every day. I really appreciate a race like the Tour of Utah, which keeps getting bigger and better. From all the volunteers in the local communities, to the sponsors, and to all the fans who come to each stage, I look forward to defending my title with Team RadioShack this year,” stated Leipheimer, the 2010 champion of the Larry H Miller Tour of Utah in the release.
Leipheimer raced last year as an individual with Mellow Johnny’s. “The 2011 Tour of Utah is a must-see race for U.S. fans, where you’ll find the best cycling athletes in the world competing across one of the most scenic regions in the world.”
A total of 15 professional teams, with eight riders per team, will be invited to race the 2011 Tour of Utah. With its new 2.1 ranking, teams that can participate in the race are ProTeams up to a maximum of 50% of the field, Professional Continental, Continental and National teams – which means no amateur or mixed teams this year.
Exact routes and team information is expected to be unveiled in the next month or so.