The Queen Stage. 10,000 ft. (3,048 meters) of climbing over 101 miles (162 km) for stage 5 at the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah today.
“It’s a hard stage, you have to be able to do two big climbs and then finish off a third ever harder climb. It’s always been a hard day, it’s never been easy. It’s traditionally what has set the guys apart, who’s strong and who’s not and I expect it to do the same this year.” Jeff Louder (UnitedHealthcare) said about the stage which finishes with the climb up to Snowbird.
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 terrain is rolling for the first 40 kms from the start in Kimball Junction. “The first bit is hard but not too hard with the rolling climbs.” Louder said. “It’s the preamble to the major difficulty.” The racing was quite aggressive during this part of the stage with the breakaway only forming after the first feedzone,
The difficulties in the stage are the three climbs, Alpine Loop, Suncrest and Snowbird. The Alpine Loop, which takes the riders by Robert Redford’s Sundance resort, ascends through narrow stands of aspen and fir trees, crests a saddle just under the summit of Mt. Timpanogos, and plunges down a twisty, technical descent into and through suburbia. The riders go over a “small” bump of Suncrest before they have to tackle the deciding 9 percent average climb up Little Cottonwood Canyon to the Creekside Center at the Snowbird Ski & Summer resort.
For the first time, the traditional Queen stage might not actually be the most difficult stage of the race. “In some ways it’s really going to really challenge Sunday’s stage for difficulty. I’d actually say that stage 6 is harder. So to have two back to back days like that might actually change the way everybody treats Saturday. Because it’s always been the last ditch effort, it’s always pretty much the last stage and nothing was going to change after that so everyone had to go all in. Knowing that the next day is going to be just as hard may change people’s thinking a bit.”
Instead of going all out, the GC contenders might try to conserve a bit of energy for the final day. “It’s surprising how close Alpine Loop is from the bottom of Snowbird, there’s not a whole lot of time there and so if people hesitate and mess around too much, there’s potential for a group to stay away.”
Stage 5 details:
- Length: 101.1 mi. (162.8 km)
- Elevation: 10,000 ft. (3,048 meters) of climbing
- Start time: 11:10 am MT
- Estimated Finish: 3:05 pm to 4:15 pm MT
- Neutral section: 0.9 miles (1.4 km)
- No time bonus at finish
- 3 XO Communications sprint lines for seconds (3, 2, 1 sec) and points
- in Kamas at mile 16 (km 27)
- in Heber at mile 35 (km 56)
- in Alpine at mile 74 (km 119)
- 4 Ski Utah KOMs
- Cat 4 in Jordanelle at mile 11 (km 19)
- Cat 1 on Alpine at mile 60 (km 40)
- Cat 2 on Sun Crest at mile 80 (km 128)
- Cat HC at finish at mile 101 (km 162)
- Time cut: 13 %