Cedar City will welcome the largest international sporting event to ever be held in the city when the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah professional cycling stage race spins through on Tuesday, August 6. Being billed as America's Toughest Stage Race, the 586-mile race is shifting attention from the Tour de France to Utah's scenic red rock.
With 126 cyclists hailing from 32 countries biking through Cedar City, a full cast of professional cyclists will be in attendance including 16 Olympians from 11 countries.
Preparations to host this large-scale event, which will be broadcasted to 118 countries, have come from mutual collaboration between Southern Utah University and Cedar City.
"The Tour of Utah is about community build out and creating collaborative relationships that will continue to be advantageous long after the Tour is over," said Janet Borg, with SUU Institutional Advancement. "Even after the last cyclist pedals out of the city, the effect the Tour will have on the University and community will be felt for years to come."
With cyclists racing through town between 3 to 4 p.m. on race day, the entire community is invited to cheer on the competitors at the finish line, with a chance to be seen on international television.
Maria Twitchell, executive director of Cedar City-Brian Head Tourism Bureau, said of the event, "Cycling is such a unique sport, you can be right there in the action and be only a few feet from the cyclists as they cross the finish line."
She added, "The entire community has come together to make this event a success and we are excited to have the entire world catch glimpse of our stunning vistas and tight-knit community."
The weeklong race, which will open on August 6 in Brian Head, will travel down through Cedar City, where it will mark its first finish stage. The race will then head north across the state to conclude in Park City on August 11, utilizing the assistance of close to 2,000 volunteers in a wide variety of roles and locations throughout race week.
In addition to Cedar City, the 2013 Tour of Utah host cities and venues include Brian Head, Panguitch, Torey, Richfield, Payson, Salt Lake City, Snowbasin Resort, Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort and Park City. Now in its ninth year, the 2013 Tour will include some of the state's most beautiful and challenging terrain.
Before any cyclists begin pedaling the 586 miles, the Utah Shakespeare Festival will host a Team Presentation Ceremony on Monday, August 5 from 3 to 5 p.m. Open to the public, the 16 teams will be recognized and on hand for autographs and photos.
Live coverage of stage one of the race will be screened in historic downtown Cedar City from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on two jump-tron screens. Live music will be played by local favorites, Juniper City and Ryan Shupe and the Rubber Bands, along with activities and food for the entire family.
The University is proud to host the majority of team and athletes as well as organize the reception and press conference. The campus is excited to have the cyclists make three circuits around campus at the end of stage one and invite all to gather around campus streets to cheer on the athletes.
The Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah continues to be free to all spectators, making professional cycling one of the most unique pro sports in the world today.