International cyclists start, finish stage 4 of tour of Utah in South Jordan
Jul 06, 2017 03:55PM
● By Keyra Kristoffersen
Cycling enthusiasts cheer their favorite riders coming through their hometown. (Jonathan Devich)
Nearly every year since 2004, the state of Utah has showcased its beauty to professional cyclists both in-state and internationally at the Tour of Utah Stage Race. Each year, cities up and down Utah are offered the opportunity to host a section, or stage, of the race to cycling enthusiasts and residents, and for 2017, South Jordan will host Stage 4 for an exciting event as both the start and finish for that day.
Jenn Andrs, executive director of the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah, said when she spoke to the mayor about South Jordan hosting, “They came back and said we want it; we’re all in. We would like to be the hosts for 2017. We think we can do it. It sounds really exciting, and it sounds really important for what our mission for our community is.”
The race began in 2004 as a Thanksgiving Point Invitational and was sponsored by the Larry H. Miller group of companies before being completely bought by the Miller family which, Andrs said, wanted to grow the event and is very enthusiastic about healthy lifestyles and outdoor activities but even more so about encouraging tourism and showing Utah beautiful surroundings.
“We can showcase it to the international cycling community and encourage tourists to come in and see our great state,” Andrs said.
After a yearlong hiatus and restructuring, the Tour of Utah was reopened in 2008, and in 2011, it gained status as an internationally ranked race of the same caliber as most of the races in Europe. Many of the same teams that have competed in the Tour de France, Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a España, also come to Utah in August.
“We race at altitude, and it gives teams a really great opportunity to come to the U.S. to race, to do some altitude training,” said Andrs. “We serve as a really great training opportunity for those athletes getting ready to go ride in the Vuelta a España later in August.”
Known as “America’s Toughest Stage Race,” the Tour of Utah is only one of two internationally sanctioned and contested races in the U.S. and is seven stages long.
The Tour of Utah has the unique aspect of being the only race in North America to have a live webcam everyday, from start to finish for audiences to cheer along with all over the world, such as Japan, Germany and England. The event brings in five to 10 cameras mounted to motorcycles, a helicopter cam and stationary cameras at start and finish line and throughout the course.
“I think the people of South Jordan are in for a real treat,” Andrs said. ”There will be a large expo at the park that day. And then the beauty of it is that they will be able to be along the finish line and watch a really exciting, dynamic race come back into town and finish at the same place that it started.”
The morning of the race, residents will have the chance to watch the teams sign in and get pictures and autographs and then big screen television monitors will display the race for spectators to watch. There will also be a kids’ bike race called Sprint to the Finish, sponsored by University of Utah Health, where children ages 5–12 can race along part of the same route as the big race. Games, food trucks and other events are also being planned to run throughout the day.
“South Jordan is doing a really great job of putting together a lot of events surrounding the Tour of Utah,” said Andrs. “There will be all kinds of activities with our national partners, and then South Jordan is bringing in a lot of local vendors to participate as well, so I just think it will be a really wonderful day of cycling and celebrating their community of South Jordan.”
The Tour of Utah is also eager to recruit volunteers from the community. Information about how to sign up can be found at www.tourofutah.com/experience/volunteer.Information about stages of the race, race-day activities, traffic information and teams can be found by visiting www.tourofutah.com.