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Get set for the 2014 Tour of Utah with highlights from 2013

August 3, 2014

Red rock desert. Mountains for escaping. A hilly city circuit. Last year’s Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah expanded the race’s traditional miles into the southern portion of the state then returned north, highlighting Utah’s stunning natural beauty as well as the rider’s efforts to tame its challenges.

These images from each 2013 stage presage what to expect during this year’s seven-day edition from August 4 – 10: more incredible backdrops and exciting racing where the climbers may well decide who will spray champagne or beer from the final podium in the race’s tenth year.

2013 Stage 1, Brian Head Resort to Cedar City

Greg Van Avermaet wins Utah's 2013 Stage 1 ahead of Michael Matthews and Ty Magner in Cedar City

Greg Van Avermaet wins Utah’s 2013 Stage 1 ahead of Michael Matthews and Ty Magner in Cedar City

This year’s Stage 1 will cover similar ground in a loop that starts and ends in Cedar City. There’s more climbing in 2014, but still a very good chance the field or a large pack will catch the breakaway by the time riders complete the three finishing circuits in town. The last 300 metres of so of this year’s finish is uphill.

2013 Stage 2, Panguitch to Torrey

Peloton in Red Canyon

Peloton in Red Canyon

Again in 2014 day two from Panguitch to Torrey traverses some of Utah’s signature scenery and national treasures: Red Canyon, Bryce Canyon National Park, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, the Dixie National Forest, and Capital Reef National Park. Last year’s stage winner, Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEDGE) said it was like riding through a movie. Another sprint is expected on the same course this year with Kiel Reijnen (UnitedHealthcare), Freddie Rodriguez (Jelly Belly), Luis Amaran (Jamis-Hagens Berman), and Rick Zabel (BMC) among those hungry for the prize.

 2013 Stage 3, Richfield to Payson

Lachlan Morton's solo push over Mt. Nebo earned him the Utah yellow jersey in 2013 and the world started to pay more attention to his "license plates"

Lachlan Morton’s solo push over Mt. Nebo earned him the Utah yellow jersey in 2013 and the world started to pay more attention to his “license plates”

The single climb up Mt. Nebo near the end of the 119 mile (192 kilometre) route decided the outcome of last year’s Stage 2. Lachlan Morton (Garmin-Sharp) broke away there and soloed to the finish in Payson. In 2014 the Lehi start pays homage to the Tour of Utah’s early days when riders departed from the Thanksgiving Point Museum and Gardens. The one KOM in Eureka takes place early so the final circuits in Miller Motorsports Park should deliver a big sprint finish if the wind doesn’t wreak havoc on the field at the track.

2013 Stage 4, Salt Lake City Circuit

Mancebo in the 2014 Salt Lake City circuit breakaway.  Craig Lewis earned the most aggressive rider's jersey and Michael Matthews won the stage.

Francisco Mancebo leads uphill in the 2014 Salt Lake City circuit breakaway. Craig Lewis earned the most aggressive rider’s jersey and Michael Matthews won the stage.

Will this year’s 128 riders miss the classic Salt Lake circuit with the repeated short but steep climb up to the state capitol? The non-climbers among them might not when they stand on the pedals during the uphill finish on Powder Mountain, this year’s new climb for Stage 4 that’s generating a lot of attention. During the last two-thirds of the six mile (10 kilometre) ascent the grade doesn’t dip below seven percent and it reaches 15 percent not once but several times. The 2014 Stage 4 begins in Ogden and offers alpine views and glimpses of Pineview Reservoir. Powder Mountain could well decide the final general classification.

2013 Stage 5, Snowbasin to Snowbird

Chris Horner slipped past Tom Danielson for the Snowbird win in 2013 and took the yellow jersey from Lachlan Morton.

Chris Horner slipped past Tom Danielson for the Snowbird win in 2013 and took the yellow jersey from Lachlan Morton.

The finish at the ski resort of Snowbird is one of the Tour of Utah’s signature finales. In the 2014 edition it appears on day six. Every year the event seeks to add something new and 2014 is no exception. Stage 5 will start out of state for the first time, in Evanston, Wyoming. Wind, the Mirror Lake Scenic Byway, and Bald Mountain Pass at 10,759 feet (3,280 metres) elevation will spice up the stage before it ends in Kamas, Utah in a sprint unless a crafty breakaway can hold off the fast finishers.

2013 Stage 6, Park City to Park City

Final 2013 jerseys: Michael Matthews, Michael Torckler, Tom Danielson, Francisco Mancebo, Lachlan Morton (l-r)

Final 2013 Tour of Utah jersey winners: Michael Matthews, Michael Torckler, Tom Danielson, Francisco Mancebo, Lachlan Morton (l-r)

Empire Pass is a decisive climb in this loop which makes for a thrilling conclusion to the overall race. In the last two years the first man over Empire won the stage. In 2013 it was 5-Hour Energy’s Francisco Mancebo. Tom Danielson (Garmin-Sharp) came in third, enough seconds ahead of Horner to score the top prize of yellow. This loop will again be featured on the closing day of the race in 2014 which takes place on Stage 7. This year’s Stage 6 ends on Snowbird and the field contesting it includes several former winners: 2008’s victor Jeff Louder (UnitedHealthcare), Garmin-Sharp’s Alex Howes (2009), Drapac’s Jai Crawford (2010), and Chris Horner (Lampre Merida).

2013 Stage 7 was a gleam in Larry H. Miller’s eyes

At seven days long the 2014 Tour of Utah is now as long as the USA Pro Challenge. While it’s one day shorter than the Amgen Tour of California, it exceeds the May race’s mileage and climbing distance. In 2014 riders will cover 753 miles (1,212 kilometres) and climb 57,000 feet (17,374 metres). The climbers will likely rule again this year. The only question is who will spray the champagne (in 2013 it was beer bubbly).

Will Danielson repeat, Horner step up to the top, or others like Cadel Evans (BMC Racing Team) or Lucas Euser (UnitedHealthcare) or Trek Factory Racing’s Matthew Busche or Matty Lloyd (Jelly Belly) claim first? Follow the race online with TourTracker to find out.

Final 2013 Tour of Utah overall podium: Chris Horner 3rd, Tom Danielson 1st, Janier Acevedo 2nd

Final 2013 Tour of Utah overall podium: Chris Horner 3rd, Tom Danielson 1st, Janier Acevedo 2nd

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