Team time trial replaces prologue in Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah
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Thursday, February 02, 2012

Team time trial replaces prologue in Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah

by VeloNation Press at 5:37 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Defending champion Leipheimer aiming to compete with Omega Pharma Quick Step squad

Levi LeipheimerPromising to maintain what it says is its reputation as America’s toughest stage race, the organisers of the
Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah yesterday released first details of the 2012 event, with stage start and finish towns being disclosed.

The 2.1-ranked event will begin on August 7th with a road race in Ogden. The usual prologue has been dropped and instead the race’s TT specialists will have a chance to flex their muscles on day two when a team time trial will be held at the Miller Motorsports Park. It will be the first time such a test appears in the race.

Four road race stages then follow, namely Ogden to University of Utah Research Park (Salt Lake City), Utah County to Salt Lake City, Park City to Snowbird Ski and Summer resort, and then a concluding leg in Park City.

Further details will be released in time, but the organisers have promised that there will be some very tough climbs included in the race. The leg to Snowbird Ski and Summer resort will be a summit finish.

Levi Leipheimer won the race in 2011 with the RadioShack team, and hopes to again compete for the title next August with his new setup. He moved to the Omega Pharma Quick Step setup over the winter and that transfer will, the organisers hope, see the powerful Belgian team compete.

“Last year, my goal clearly was to repeat as the overall champion of the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah. It was an unbelievable victory and a great event. It's exciting to watch the Tour of Utah succeed and rise in the ranks as a world-class, UCI race,” said Leipheimer, the champion in 2010 and 2011. “With all the elevation gains and climbing, I feel that the Tour of Utah is one of the toughest stage races in America today.

“I am also very excited for the addition of the Team Time Trial, as being the only opportunity in the U.S. this year to see and participate in one. The fans are going to love that. I look forward to hopefully defending my title with my Quick-Step teammates in 2012.”

The team has started the season strongly, clocking up four stage victories and the overall in the Tour de San Luis. Leipheimer won the time trial plus the general classification, while Francesco Chicchi and Tom Boonen took three sprint victories between them.

It is estimated that sixteen teams will take part, including several who will have ridden the Tour de France in July.

Steve Miller, president of the Utah Cycling Partnership which owns the Tour of Utah, says the event is in high demand from these big teams.

“The Tour of Utah continues to grow in stature as a major cycling event in North America. When you get calls from teams around the world to come to Utah, then you know you are doing something right,” he said. “We thought the timing was right this year to launch a new brand for the event, and you’ll see more changes in the coming months.”

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