Extra Day and Possible Expansion South For 2013 Tour of Utah

Posted on 16. Aug, 2012 by in race

Less than one hour after the end of the 2012 edition of ‘America’s Toughest Race’ won by BMC’s Johann Tschopp, discussion had already shifted to next year’s race. The planning for the 2013 race started in April of this year, according to Steve Miller, president of the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah.

“We’re trying to get ahead of the curve, we’ve been a little bit behind of the curve and we’ve always been cleaning up the previous year’s event before we could get started on the current year but now we’ve got a stronger staff in place, and we’ve been able to start designing and looking at 2013. So I think that with as good as this year was, we have really great things in store with 2013.”

The Tour of Utah has grown tremendously since its humble beginnings in 2004, from a regional race to NRC event in 2008 with the Queen Stage finishing atop Snowbird to a UCI-ranking in 2011 to the present.

Miller called it baby steps. “Everybody grows at a different pace, but definitely this race was meant to grow in baby steps. If we would have tried to take today’s race and forced it four or five years ago, I don’t think that this market was ready for it, I don’t think that the teams were ready to race in Utah, I’m not sure that the fans or sponsors were ready have a race at this level or have racing at this level. But as we put a solid foundation in place, I think clearly that the communities embraced it. For anybody that was here at the finish line today, it was a pretty strong showing.”

Steve Miller, president of Tour of Utah joins  Radioshak-Nissan, winner of the overall team classification, on stage

Steve Miller, president of Tour of Utah joins Radioshak-Nissan, winner of the overall team classification, on stage

For next year’s race, held in August once again, the talk returned to taking the race down South. Wasatch Front Subaru Dealers extended their agreement for an additional two years. Along with a commitment from title sponsor Larry H. Miller Group of Companies, the organizers started developing the new route for 2013, with tentative talks to include southern Utah communities for the first time.

Miller would not give specific details as to the Southern stages. “It’s s way way way premature to even speculate as to when we may see those stages. We did invite several potential host cities to this year’s Tour, so there have been quite a number of potential cities that came to this race, to see what it’s all about so now they have a better idea of what it takes to host a stage, a start or a finish, at the Tour of Utah.”

Back in April, Miller along with Medalist Sports’ Chris Aronhalt took a three-day toad trip to scout the potential stages.

“The possibilities are absolutely limitless.” Miller said. “The key is going to be connecting the dots and finding communities that are interested in having the race start or finish there. So there is definitely a lot of work to be done and we’re just going to have to take it a day at a time, make sure that we have the funding to do it right and again community involvement is key. That is what has allowed this race to become what it is, is finding good host cities, partners like you see here in Park City and the overall start in Ogden, Salt Lake City and others.”

The organizers did apply for an extra day in 2013, taking it to a seven-day race, with the first stage on a Monday and the final on Sunday. “That would necessary too if we were to stretch the race from South to North in Utah, it would take an additional day because the stage is 400 miles long North to South.”

Throughout its growth, the Tour of Utah organizers have managed to keep a sense of family and intimacy through the years even though the organization itself increased in size, and the race became an international event. Maybe it has to do with the limited transfers as this year for the first time, staff and riders switched hotels once moving from Ogden to Utah. Or maybe it is because the Miller family is deeply involved. For whatever reason, the family feeling delivers a unique atmosphere to the race and hopefully will not get lost in future editions of the race.

Relive the 2012 Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah (Archives of previous years)

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