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

File photo shows riders during Stage 1 of the 2016 Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah, Cedar City, Utah, Aug. 1, 2016 | Photo by Sheldon Demke, St. George News / Cedar City News

ST. GEORGE — With the 2018 Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah pro cycling race less than two months away, organizers have released specific times, routes, maps and other details for each of the weeklong event’s stages.

Billed by organizers as “America’s Toughest Stage Race,” the Aug. 6-12 event is expected to attract hundreds of top-tier cyclists from around the world.

This year, St. George is hosting the preliminary time trials, called the prologue stage, Aug. 6. Cedar City will then host the first stage Aug. 7.

Read more: 2018 Tour of Utah race to start in St. George with time-trial event on Red Hills Parkway

Prologue Stage: St. George

The St. George prologue stage is scheduled to start at 10 a.m. Aug. 6, 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).

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

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.

According to the preview description posted on the Tour of Utah website, the prologue stage is expected to be “a hot and hard affair,” with riders moving at high speeds.

“The time gaps will be small but it will set the stage for a great week of racing,” the preview notes.

Red Hills Parkway will be closed between Bluff Street and 1000 East to all vehicle traffic from noon Sunday, Aug. 5, until mid to late afternoon Aug. 6. Racers are expected to finish by around 12:30 p.m.

Stage 1: Cedar City

Cedar City, which has previously hosted a Tour of Utah stage four times, most recently in 2016, will kick off the 2018 event Aug. 7 with a challenging 101-mile loop into the mountains and back. The event is scheduled to start at 10:50 a.m. and finish at 3:15 p.m., with the Southern Utah Museum of Art, 299 West Center St., serving as both the starting and finishing point.

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

Stage 1 “gets down to business quickly,” according to the preview on the tour’s website.

“After the first sprint line of the race at 25 miles in the town of Parowan, the race will hit its first climb, and it’s a big one. The Category 1 climb up Parowan Canyon through the ski resort town of Brian Head into Cedar Breaks National Monument climbs 4500 feet in 15 miles with some pitches hitting 15 percent (grade). This will also be the highest climb of the week, topping out at 10,600 feet.”

After traversing the Markagunt Plateau and winding through the Mammoth Creek lava flows, riders will head west in through Duck Creek and face a long mellow climb up to the Bristlecone KOM (King of Mountain) point, the second of two pinnacles of the day.

After that, it’s all downhill from there, as the racers will travel down state Route 14 into Cedar City, making three circuits around town and the Southern Utah University campus before reaching the finish line.

Road closures will be in effect throughout the day in each of the designated areas and time frames, so motorists should expect delays or plan alternate routes.

After spending the 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.

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