After a year hiatus, a classic stage – with a few modifications – returns to Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah. Stage 3, 85.5 miles (137 km) from Ogden to Utah Research Park in Salt Lake City.
“It’s a classic. We didn’t do it last year but we’ve done it every other year. It’s always finished with a small group off the front, it never finished with a group sprint.” said Jeff Louder (UnitedHealthcare).
“It’s always surprised me, it’s one that I think about a lot because I train on those roads all the time. I go over Little Mountain and Big Mountain climbs like two or three times a week all year long, I spend a lot of time riding on that thinking how it’s gone down in the past. Personally I’ve never gotten it right.” Louder laughed, “I’ve always finished that race and been frustrated, it never goes the way that I predict it to go.”
Utah-native and Salt Lake city resident, Louder has not only raced in most of the editions of the Tour of Utah – including the overall win in 2008 – but he’s also spent many hours training on many of the same roads that the peloton will face this year. Louder shared with podiuminisight on each stage of this year’s edition.
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The road goes up quickly with the first KOM only 10 miles into the stage. After climbing the infamous North Ogden Pass, riders will loop around Pineview reservoir, passing under Snowbasin Ski resort, site of the 2002 Olympic downhill. After rolling along through the emerald ranches and farms of Morgan Valley, past East Canyon Dam and reservoir, they’ll grind up the 5.5-mile, 7 percent climb to the Big Mountain summit, followed by a mad, 15-mile downhill chase to the finish in University of Utah’s Research Park.
The third and final climb up Big Mountain is where the decisive attacks fly. “Two times, there was attacking over the top of Big Mountain, basically holding off the group. A couple of guys stayed away from the breakaway and we able to just keep on going from there. The group split on Big Mountain and then they were able to keep their advantage down the descent. It’s always been fairly close, barely 20 seconds but we’ve never been quite able to bring it back.” Louder explained.
In 2010, David Tanner (then with Fly V Australia) took the win after attacking the break on the climb.
On paper, it looks like a bunch sprint, yet history has proven otherwise. “Someone always seems to hold off the peloton, it’s surprising because it’s a long drag run-in, not really a technical descent. It’s downhill to the finish but there’s a lot to overcome, such as wind. It’s a pedaling descent so it’s always surprised me that people have been able to hold off the peloton but they did. We’ll see what happens this year, maybe having the bigger teams will change that.”
Stage 3 details:
- Length: 85.5 mi. (137 km)
- Elevation: 7,134 ft. (2,174 meters) of climbing
- Start time: 12:15 pm MT
- Estimated Finish: 3:33 pm to 4:09 pm MT
- Neutral section: 0.6 miles (1 km)
- Time bonus at finish of 10, 6 & 4 seconds
- 2 XO Communications sprint lines for seconds (3, 2, 1 sec) and points
- in Huntsville at mile 23 (km 37)
- in Morgan at mile 45 (km 72)
- 3 Ski Utah KOMs
- Cat 2 on North Ogden Divide at mile 10 (km 17)
- Cat 3 on Trapper’s Loop at mile 28 (km 45)
- Cat 2 on Big Mountain at mile 68 (km 110)