Last year, there was a lot of red rock and desert. This year? More granite-faced mountains, high-altitude passes and conifers. Beginning Monday, the Tour of Utah will run for the 20th time — the ninth time since the race was sanctioned internationally — in the northern part of the state.
A total of 117 athletes representing 24 countries are expected to battle across 477 miles of northern Utah when the race begins Monday with the Prologue at Snowbird, up Little Cottonwood Canyon.
The final rosters have been confirmed for the 17 men’s teams invited to compete in the weeklong stage race.
Following the Prologue, the Tour of Utah will grind on for six more days and include a total 37,882 feet in elevation gain.
“The Tour of Utah is a world-class sporting event as evident by the impressive field of riders from 24 countries,” said John Kimball, managing director of the Tour of Utah. “The resumé of the peloton includes former Tour of Utah overall champions and stage winners, road racing national champions and riders who have competed internationally in the Grand Tours of professional cycling. Fresh off the finish of the Tour de France, we are poised to host an exciting, highly-competitive cycling event in scenic Utah.”
The UCI 2.HC-sanctioned stage race boasts an all-star field composed of national champions, Grand Tour veterans and Tour of Utah winners. A total of 22 athletes have proven themselves as national champions in road racing disciplines. Seventeen athletes have competed in one or more of the three-week Grand Tours of professional cycling — Tour de France, Giro d’Italia or Vuelta a España.
Among eight of these riders who raced at this year’s Giro, 24-year-old Italian Giulio Ciccone of Trek-Segafredo, who captured a Stage 16 victory and claimed the King of the Mountain (KOM) classification title. He also held the yellow jersey at the Tour de France for two days.
Ten riders have accounted for 18 stage wins and nine classification titles at the Tour of Utah since 2011, the year the event was sanctioned internationally by the UCI. Among the Tour of Utah alumni are three General Classification (G.C.) champions with Joe Dombrowski (USA) of EF Education First in 2015; Lachlan Morton (Australia) of EF Education First in 2016; and Rob Britton (Canada) of Rally UHC Cycling in 2017.
The field of riders includes two Utah natives. Taylor “TJ” Eisenhart of Arapahoe l Hincapie powered by BMC returns for a fourth time. His best finish in the Tour of Utah was seventh overall in 2016. The Lehi native finished 20th on G.C. last year. His teammate Tanner Putt from Park City will race the Tour of Utah for a fifth time. He last raced in his home state in 2016 with UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling and had a Top 10 finish on Stage 1.
Some new territory will be christened in this year’s race. The firsts include circuits in North Logan City and North Salt Lake, and a challenging climb up and over the Olympic Parkway at Utah Olympic Park.
Returning to the Tour are the summits of two legendary climbs — Powder Mountain and Empire Pass — both rated as HC, or beyond classification. And back by popular demand is the downtown Salt Lake City circuit race, held in the evening with eight laps past the Utah State Capitol and City Creek Canyon.
“This year’s Tour of Utah has a number of exciting route highlights from a new overall start at Snowbird Resort to the popular circuit race at the Capitol on a Friday evening," Kimball said earlier this year. "The return to Powder Mountain Resort this year will certainly be an epic stage. A true champion among the 120-plus athletes will be crowned at the end of race week in Park City.”
THE 2019 TOUR OF UTAH
Monday • Prologue, Snowbird. 3.3 miles, 650 feet elevation gain.
Tuesday • Stage 1, North Logan City. 86.9 miles, 4,310 feet.
Wednesday • Stage 2, Brigham City to Powder Mountain. 84.4 miles, 7,316 feet.
Thursday • Stage 3, Antelope Island to North Salt Lake. 85.9 miles, 5,695 feet.
Friday • Stage 4, Salt Lake City. 53.8 miles, 4,460 feet.
Saturday • Stage 5, Canyons Village at PCMR. 85.1 miles, 5,236 feet.
Aug. 18 • Stage 6, Park City. 78.2 miles, 10,009 feet.
Total • 477 miles, 37,882 feet.