A spectator’s guide to Tour of Utah events in Cedar City and St. George, including traffic information

This 2016 file photo shows Tour of Utah racers in Cedar City, Utah, Aug. 1, 2016 | Photo courtesy of the Tour of Utah, St. George News

CEDAR CITY — Southern Utah will set the stage for next week’s Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah bicycle racing event, billed as “America’s Toughest Stage Race.”

This 2016 file photo shows the start of Stage 1 of Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah in Springdale, Utah, Aug. 1, 2016 | Photo by Sheldon Demke, St. George News / Cedar City News

The 2.HC-rated stage race on Union Cycliste Internationale’s America Tour is one of the premier events for professional cycling teams in North America. More than 120 top-tier cyclists are scheduled to participate in the tour, one of the most prominent events on USA Cycling’s Pro Road Tour. Fox Sports Network is providing 21 hours of broadcast coverage of the event, including 10 hours of live telecasts.

A field of 17 teams has accepted invitations, with five World Tour squads, seven UCI Pro Continental teams and five UCI Continental teams. This year’s participants include least 26 riders who have earned either a stage win or classification jersey during a past Tour of Utah and 13 riders who have competed in all three races in the Grand Tours of professional cycling: Tour de France, Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España.

The weeklong event is free to all spectators.

Cedar City’s local organizing committee members have been preparing for the Tour of Utah for the past several months. They are working alongside with staff members, business sponsors, public and university officials and hundreds of volunteers to ensure a safe and successful event for the athletes and for everyone involved.

Read more: Cedar City organizers seeking additional volunteers for Tour of Utah events

In addition to hosting the tour’s first stage on Tuesday, Cedar City will also host a pre-event kickoff party Saturday afternoon (see details below). In between the pre-event and Stage 1 in Cedar City, St. George will host a time-trial prologue stage on Monday.

Following is a guide to what spectators and nonspectators alike can expect on the respective event dates, including road closures and other pertinent information.

Read more: Tour of Utah to begin with time trials in St. George, first stage in Cedar City

Saturday, Aug. 4

Saturday’s kickoff event in Cedar City is scheduled to start at 3:30 p.m. at the Greenshow Commons area of the Beverley Center for the Arts at 200 W. University Blvd. The free event will feature games on the grass and live music by Wilhelm, followed by a meet-and-greet session starting at 5 p.m. Riders will be introduced by team and have a Q&A session, and fans will be able to get autographs and meet the riders in person

Monday, Aug. 6

Map of 2018 Tour of Utah Prologue in St. George | Courtesy of Tour of Utah, St. George News / Cedar City News | Click to enlarge

The St. George prologue stage, a qualifying time trial, is scheduled to start at 10 a.m. Monday, with the riders starting at 469 Red Hills Parkway, traveling northeast up the parkway to a point about 1.6 miles from the start before turning back around and heading downhill to finish back at the starting point, a total distance of 3.3 miles (5 km).

The course starts at about 3,000 feet elevation and climbs to approximately 3,200 feet twice before dropping back down again in a fast and straight downhill stretch to the finish.

“I always enjoy and appreciate when the Tour of Utah has a prologue or a non-uphill time trial,” said Brent Bookwalter of BMC Racing Team, who tallied a stage win in 2017 and a Utah Sports Commission Sprint classification jersey in 2015. “By adding in a prologue, it balances out the race a bit and forces the climbers to be in their best form in the race against the clock.”

Several events will accompany the Stage 1 prologue, including the KUTV 2 Healthy Living Expo, which begins at 8:30 a.m. outside the Red Hills Desert Garden, and a race for children ages 4-12 is set for 9:15 a.m.

Closures and spectator information

Red Hills Parkway will be closed between 200 East and 900 East to all vehicle traffic starting at noon Sunday until approximately 4 p.m. Monday.

Starting at 6 a.m. Monday, the closure will expand, with Red Hills Parkway being closed from Bluff Street to 900 East. Traffic will not be allowed north of Hope Street on 200 East. Motorists traveling on North Bluff Street during this time should expect long delays.

For those wanting to watch the time trials, free spectator shuttles and parking are available at the Dixie State University Testing Center, 954 E. Tabernacle St. Spectators who want to cycle to the event are invited to park at the Elks Lodge on 630 W. 1250 North and ride from there to the expo via the paved trail system along Red Hills Parkway.

Tuesday, Aug. 7

Map of 2018 Tour of Utah Stage 1 in Cedar City | Courtesy of Tour of Utah, St. George News / Cedar City News | Click to enlarge

Cedar City’s Stage 1 event Tuesday is a challenging 101-mile loop into the mountains and back. The race is scheduled to start at 10:50 a.m., with the intersection of 300 West and Center Street/University Boulevard, serving as both the starting and finishing point. Tour of Utah’s top racers are expected to arrive back in town for the final circuit around town between 2:15 and 2:45 and cross the finish line between 3 p.m. and 3:45 p.m. Awards will be presented on stage shortly after the finish.

The KUTV 2 Healthy Living Expo/Cedar City Velo Village will be open to the public in the area surrounding the start/finish line between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. The stage program will begin at 10:20 a.m., with riders arriving and signing in. The color guard will present the flag for the national anthem at 10:45, after which the racers will start Stage 1 at 10:50.

While the riders are making their hundred-mile loop, activities will continue at the expo in the Velo Village, including various vendor booths and live music. Kids will have a chance to race their bikes across the actual finish line during the “Sprint to the Finish” event at 1 p.m. Children must have their own bikes and helmets to participate. Registration will take place at the University of Utah’s health information booth at the expo.

Closures and spectator information

Stage 1 will begin with a neutral start, with riders making a loop around town at a controlled pace without passing each other. Then, at approximately 11 a.m., riders will begin racing once they reach 600 South at 860 West.

See map above and click here for full description of the route and specific times, along with road closures, parking restrictions and suggested alternate routes.

Drivers are asked to be patient during the road closures, both in the morning and in the afternoon, and consider taking alternate routes if possible. The morning race will include temporary rolling closures of intersections and roads along the route, resulting in expected delays of 5-15 minutes. The afternoon finishing circuit will require hard closures around the perimeter of the SUU campus for approximately 45-60 minutes.

Motorists should also note that passing is not permitted by any motor vehicle along the road being used by the professional cyclists or authorized race caravan vehicles. Traffic is allowed to follow behind the race but only at the same speed as the race, which averages 22-28 mph.

If you are traveling toward the race (in the opposite direction of racers), Utah Highway Patrol and Cedar City Police will be controlling all traffic at certain intersections, treating this as a rolling road closure.

While many spectators will likely prefer to be at the start/finish line at 300 W. University Blvd., others may enjoy watching the sprint finishes, running along with the riders on steep climbs or camping out at scenic outlooks along the way, in areas such as Parowan, Brian Head, Mammoth, Duck Creek and Cedar Canyon.

Aug. 8-12

After spending its first two days in Southern Utah, the Tour of Utah will move north for the the remainder of the week, with subsequent stages in Payson, Layton, Salt Lake City, Snowbird and Park City. Visit the Tour of Utah website for more information.

Resources

Email: jrichards@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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