2018 Tour of Utah off to blazing start with time trials on Red Hills Parkway

Cristhian Avila of the 303 Project team from Colombia is the first rider to leave the starting line during the 2018 Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah Prologue time trials, St. George, Utah, Aug. 6, 2018 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — The 2018 Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah professional bicycle racing event got under way Monday, with 117 riders blazing their way up and back along a 5.3-kilometer loop on the Red Hills Parkway during preliminary times trials in St. George.

Racers leave the starting line at the 2018 Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah Prologue time trials, St. George, Utah, Aug. 6, 2018 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News

Tejay Van Garderen, 29, of USA’s team BMC had the fastest qualifying time, posting a time of 6 minutes, 27.49 seconds, an average of more than 30 mph over the 3.3-mile loop.

Coming in a close second was his teammate Joseph Rosskopf, who clocked a time of 6:32.25, less than four seconds behind Van Garderen. BMC SUI rider Tom Bohli of Switzerland placed third overall with a time of 6:33.96.

The racers were timed separately starting at 10 a.m., each leaving the starting line one minute apart for nearly two hours in the increasingly hotter sunshine. Each rider had his own support vehicle and motorcycle escort.

Spectators cheered loudly and rattled cowbells as the riders whooshed by every minute or so.

Lehi’s T.J. Eisenhart, the only Utah rider on the tour, posted a time of 6:54.45, putting him almost exactly in the middle of the pack at 59th place.

Racers near the finish line at the 2018 Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah Prologue time trials, St. George, Utah, Aug. 6, 2018 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News

The 117 riders belong to 17 teams, comprising five World Tour squads, seven UCI Pro Continental teams and five UCI Continental teams.

As the top three qualifiers, Van Garderen, Rosskopf, and Bohli will wear three of the event’s specialty jerseys during Tuesday’s first stage in Cedar City. Van Garderen will wear the yellow jersey as the overall leader, Rosskopf will wear the white Utah Sports Commission sprinter jersey and Bohli will wear the Utah Office of Tourism King of Mountain’s blue snowflake jersey.

Also earning special jerseys were fourth-place finisher Neilson Powless of team TLJ, who was awarded the light blue jersey for being named the WCF Insurance best young rider for the time trials; and fifth-place qualifier Pascal Eenkhoorn of team TLJ, who was named the Larry H. Miller most aggressive rider and will wear dark blue Tuesday.

Also, sixth-place finisher Serghei Tvetcov of UHC, was voted the “favorite international rider” and will wear the America First Credit Union Fan Favorite red jersey for Stage 1. Click here for full results of Monday’s time trials, and check out St. George News photo gallery below.

Tuesday’s race in Cedar City will be a challenging 101-mile loop into the mountains and back into town. 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 Cedar City 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.

The 2.HC-rated Tour of Utah, billed as “America’s Toughest Stage Race,” is part of Union Cycliste Internationale’s America Tour and is one of the premier events for professional cycling teams in North America.

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. The weeklong event is free to all spectators.

Resources

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Email: jrichards@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

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

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2 Comments

  • and August 6, 2018 at 10:49 pm

    I can’t be the only one that’s tired of shutting down roads so a few people can ride bikes. Does the UHP provide escort services for free? There are so many events in town that this place is basically a tourist town. Does the City lose money on these events? Is this really the majority of St. George? So many questions.

    • LunchboxHero August 7, 2018 at 8:50 am

      It really was crazy, with Bluff being torn up, and then Red Hills being closed. Traffic was gridlocked at one point during the day.

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