CEDAR CITY — Cedar City has been named as a 2018 Haute Route host city, along with two other U.S. cycling destinations and European cities in the Pyrenees, French Alps and Dolomite regions.
Cedar City, an increasingly popular cycling destination, joins San Francisco and Asheville, North Carolina, as new North American venues for three-day Haute Route events. Cedar City’s three-day event, which allows cyclists to base out of one city for two road climbs and a time trial, will be held Sept. 14-16, 2018.
“In some ways the Haute Route is harder than doing the Tour de France,” three time Tour de France winner Greg LeMond said in a recent article.
“Cedar City is pleased to be listed among the spectacular, challenging and iconic cycling climbs of Haute Route events held throughout the world,” Cedar City Mayor Maile Wilson said. “Southern Utah’s red rock formations, high alpine meadows and National Parks provide an extraordinary backdrop to the event, but it’s our people who welcome visitors as family and their expertise in executing world-class events, that will make Cedar City memorable.”
Mayor Wilson said Cedar City is known as “Festival City USA” because of the decades of visitors coming to town for the Tony Award-winning Utah Shakespeare Festival, the Olympic-style Utah Summer Games, professional and amateur cycling events, Southern Utah University events and other activities.
Haute Route, pronounced “Oat Route” and meaning ‘high road” in French, has hosted cycling events since 2011 over the world’s most iconic cycling terrain for skilled amateur riders. They are rapidly expanding throughout the United States after hosting their first North American event last June with the Mavic Haute Route Rockies seven-day event, going from Boulder to Colorado Springs, Colorado.
“Whether it’s paved or gravel, it seems as if all cycling roads are leading to Cedar City lately and we are honored that an organization such as Haute Route/OC Sport found us and added us to their schedule,” said Bryan Dangerfield, chair of the Cedar City Local Organizing Committee. “As a cycling destination, Cedar City and Southern Utah provide a diversity of climbs and touring from red rock to lava flows and our experienced volunteers love to share the experience.”
Dangerfield said the Local Organizing Committee is made up of seasoned cycling volunteers that are anxious to host the world. One of the top UCI-sanctioned races in North American, the Tour of Utah has selected Cedar City three times to be the overall race headquarters and Stage 1 finish line – 2016 Zion Canyon Village to Cedar City; 2014 Brian Head to Cedar City and 2013 start/finish.
Mountain Biking is also growing in popularity with the popular gravel grinder “Cedar City Fire Road” route on Cedar Mountain and around Kolob Reservoir, and the 2017 Utah High School Mountain Biking Championships at Three Peaks Recreation Area. Cedar City has extensive mountain bike trails designed by the International Mountain Bike Association, many of which are accessible from hotel rooms and neighborhoods.
In cooperation with the Bureau of Land Management, trails are being built and more are in the planning stages. Within five years Cedar City is expected to have more than 100 miles of beginner to expert mountain biking trails.
With the theme “Ride like a pro,” Haute Route works to provide a professional experience both on and off the bike for amateur riders. In partnership with a number of companies, Haute Route provides services over time and ranked stages.
The announcement of 2018 host sites was made by OC Sport, a global sports marketing company specializing in sailing, cycling and running events based in Switzerland. OC Sport is the parent company of the Haute Route Cycling Series.