Stage 4 at the Larry H.Miller Tour of Utah brings a sprinter’s stage and a respite – maybe – before the final two stages
“It will be good to have a sprint day because the next two days will be hellish.” Jeff Louder (UnitedHealthcare) said about the 134.3 mi. (219.8 km) stage that starts in Lehi.
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 Tour of Utah has started at the same location, the Xango headquarters at Thanksgiving Point n Lehi many times in the past but the course takes a different way back to the finish. Before they finally cross the finish line at the EnergySolutions Arena in Salt Lake City, racers will first venture west along the venerable Pony Express route, circle back east, then head north through ranches, farms, suburbia and, at last, the urban landscape of Salt Lake City.
The stage does a loop in Skull Valley described as “pretty barren” and also goes by an army depot. “I don’t know exactly what they do, there’s were they test chemical weapons and store chemical weapons. It’s out there for a reason and that’s because there’s nothing out there.” laughed Louder.
The only real difficulty on the stage are the heat and the wind. The forecast calls, once again, for temperatures in the high 90s F and will probably hit and cross the 100 F mark. If the wind does kick up, then echelons might come into play. “The roads are pretty small, super hot and it could be windy. For how easy it looks, there could be some surprises, depending how everyone wants to race.” he explained. “It could be a hard day if the wind is right.”
With 44 miles to go in the stage, the Tour caravan will get a Utah Highway Patrol escort on the brand new, 15-mile Mountain View Corridor. Scheduled for a late-2012 opening, the Tour will be the first and only non-construction traffic allowed on the route.
The return follows the reverse direction that the locals use to ride out to the Rocky Mountain raceway which is the weekly ‘world championships’ on Tuesday night.
“The return is through a little bit of an industrial area, there’s a stretch with kind of tricky roads and some turns, and gravel. It’s coming in the back way into Salt Lake City, a couple of railroad crossings.” Louder said. “Some roads I know very well.”
His prediction? “I’d put all my money on a group sprint.”
Stage 4 details:
- Length: 134.3 mi. (219.8 km)
- Elevation: 4,219 ft. (1,285 meters) of climbing
- Start time: 10:15 am MT
- Estimated Finish: 3:07 pm to 4:095:06 pm MT
- Neutral section: 2.8 miles (4.5 km)
- Time bonus at finish of 10, 6 & 4 seconds
- 3 XO Communications sprint lines for seconds (3, 2, 1 sec) and points
- in Cedar Fort at mile 15 (km 24)
- on Mountain View at mile 98 (km 158)
- in Magna at mile 118 (km 191)
- No Ski Utah KOMs