The Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah will expand to a seven-day stage race in 2014, starting on Monday, August 4 and finishing on Sunday, August 10. The Union Cycliste International (UCI) has approved expansion of the professional cycling stage race from six to seven days. Earlier today the UCI released its 2014 events calendar for all sanctioned road races on its five global circuits. The 10th edition of the Tour of Utah next year will remain a 2.1-rated stage race on the UCI America Tour, making it one of the premier events in North America.
The 2013 Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah expanded to Southern Utah for the first time this year, showcasing the iconic red rock scenery of the region. An estimated 260,000 spectators watched the race in person this year along the 586-mile route, which included 10 start line and finish line host venues. An estimated $17.5 million in economic impact and $14.17 million in media publicity value was generated by the record-setting event.
“The Tour of Utah has earned a place on the international cycling calendar, and we look forward to delivering a world-class event in 2014,” said Steve Miller, president of Miller Sports Properties, which operates the Tour of Utah. “Each year we seek to enhance the Tour. We make an effort to present the sport of cycling to new audiences by attracting the top teams and by organizing a race that showcases our beautiful state. The momentum we have gained in recent years is due to the enthusiastic support we have received from our sponsors and fans.”
Tour organizers have been pleased with solid growth for the event since 2011, when the race was elevated to its position on the UCI calendar and began delivering the event to expanded audiences. Television viewership of the race increased more than 38 percent this year with 18 hours of national broadcast coverage on FOX Sports Network and an international audience in 49 countries via Eurosport 2. Expanded numbers were also generated with start-to-finish audio and video coverage of the race on the website and mobile applications from Tour Tracker® powered by Adobe. The Tour Tracker® experience was viewed by more than 153,000 race fans including a 147 percent increase in downloads to mobile devices. The Tour of Utah website attracted a 75 percent increase in traffic with more than 107,000 unique visitors from 146 countries. Coverage of the race via broadcast, online and print reports increased threefold this year to more than 113 million earned media impressions, due in large part to the expanded route in southern Utah and international field of cyclists.
“The significant economic impact and media value that this world-class cycling event generates for the state is precisely the reason the Utah Sports Commission is thrilled to play such a key sponsorship role,” said Jeff Robbins, president and CEO of the Utah Sports Commission. “The Miller family and all of the Tour of Utah partners have done a terrific job pulling together to build this event into one of the top cycling events in North America.”
Referred to as “America’s Toughest Stage RaceTM” the 2013 Tour of Utah featured more than 43,000 vertical feet of climbing across 586 miles. A total of 16 professional teams competed this past August, bringing 122 athletes from 32 different countries. Five teams traveled to Utah after racing in the Tour de France, the top professional cycling stage race in the world.
American Tom Danielson of Team Garmin-Sharp secured the overall win at the 2013 Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah on the final day of racing in Park City. Chris Horner (USA) of RADIOSHACK LEOPARD TREK finished second on General Classification, 1 minute and 29 seconds behind Danielson. Orica-GreenEDGE’s Michael Matthews (Australia), who won two of the six stages, earned the XO Communications Sprint leader’s jersey. The Subaru Best Young Rider jersey was won by Garmin-Sharp’s Lachlan Morton (Australia) and Bissell Cycling Team’s Michael Torckler (New Zealand) captured the Ski Utah King of the Mountain jersey. RADIOSHACK LEOPARD TREK was recognized as the top team. Following Utah, Horner, 41, won the overall title at the 2013 Vuelta a España (Tour of Spain), becoming the oldest champion of a Grand Tour event.
The Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah began as a three-day Thanksgiving Point Stage Race and Cycling Festival over Memorial Day weekend in 2004.The Utah Cycling Partnership, owned by the Larry H. Miller Group of Companies, purchased the event in 2007 and re-launched the cycling event in 2008 as a five-day National Racing Calendar event. In 2011, the Tour of Utah was elevated by the UCI to a 2.1-rated stage race on the UCI America Tour. The race is also sanctioned by USA Cycling, Inc.
Miller confirmed that an announcement is planned in January regarding the overall route and host cities for the 2014 race. The Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah continues to be free to all spectators, making professional cycling one of the most unique professional sports in the world today. More information about the Tour of Utah and its partners can be found by visiting www.tourofutah.com.
Photo courtesy Garmin / Sharp