Who knew—Utah actually has a pretty difficult cycling race that runs every summer. It's known as America’s toughest stage race, and it just got that much harder. On June 12, organizers of the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah revealed that this year’s event, running Aug. 7-12, has been increased by a whopping 141 miles. Cyclists will now have to push through 550 miles of terrain.
The new-and-improved courses will yield 37,000 feet of climbing, highlighted by a new road race to be held on the final day in Park City via the summit of Empire Pass. The tour consists of six stages, so it's by no means the Tour de France, but the variety and difficulty of the stages makes the race fits its billing as one of the most challenging stage races in America. So, all those Tour de France participants might just want to swing by Utah this summer for a little tuneup.
“It is billed as 'America’s toughest stage race,’ and I believe the courses reflect that," says Levi Leipheimer, defending two-time Tour of Utah winner. We have some very difficult climbs, especially this coming year. There are a couple of new ones which will really shock people.” Leipheimer is clearly no scrub, being the two-time defending champion, and he also is a stage winner at the Tour de France, so his high praise for the difficulty of the race should not be taken lightly.
While stage names in this year’s race such as “Stage 6 provided by United Healthcare” won't strike the same fear into cyclists' hearts as the Tour de France's “Aigurande a Super Basse Sancy,” this race is no cakewalk. But we all know completing difficult cycling feats can leave one feeling quite accomplished.