Now the peloton treks north.
Since the first two stages of the 2013 Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah have now crossed communities and gorgeous backdrops previously untouched by the 586-mile, six-stage cycling race, Stage 3 begins in the heart of central Utah in Richfield and ends 119 miles away in the southern Utah County town of Payson.
Riders will pedal for roughly 100 miles, passing through towns such as Ephraim, Manti and Moroni, before being thrust into the shadow of Mount Nebo, the highest mountain along the Wasatch Mountain range at 11,928 feet.
As the peloton takes one final dip downhill in preparation for the daunting climb, the racers will race from 5,700 feet to about 9,300 feet in a 15-mile span. Once summiting Nebo along the mountain’s roadway, cyclists face a finish that will certainly test the speedometer.
The final 22 miles will feature a 4,000-foot descent into Payson showcasing the mountains several twists and turns.
Beginning at 10:50 a.m. in Richfield, Stage 3 is anticipated to crown a winner around 3:45 p.m.
Protecting the general classification lead and yellow jersey will be 22-year-old Australian Michael Matthews of Orica-GreenEDGE, who overcame a disappointing Stage 1 second-place finish to sprint past a wide-open peloton Wednesday in Torrey to secure the overall lead and the Stage 2 win.
Matthews said following his win Wednesday that he anticipates Stage 3 to be somewhat of a rest day for him — if you can call it that — as Orica-GreenEDGE will conserve its energy for the final three stages in northern Utah.
Matthews leads Stage 1 winner Greg Van Avermaet of BMC Racing Team by one second in the GC. The Hincapie Sportswear Development team, a group consisting of mainly young American riders, currently leads the team standings.