American Tejay van Garderen was the fastest man in St. George with a time of 6 minutes and 27 seconds, leading a BMC Racing Team sweep of the podium in Monday’s Prologue at the 2018 Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah.
“I love Utah, I have a long history here. This was my first professional victory in 2011 in the TT (Time Trial) at the Tour of Utah,” said van Garderen, who comes off one rest week after racing the Tour de France. He will wear the Larry H. Miller Dealerships Leader’s jersey on Tuesday.
“I just came here to have some fun, keep the body rolling. I told myself if there is a chance for a result, I'll take it and today was a great opportunity for that,” added van Garderen. In 2011, he finished fourth in the opening Prologue, which was held in Park City. Later that week he won the ITT on Stage 3 in Tooele, Utah.
Reigning U.S. Pro Individual Time Trial champion Joe Rosskopf finished four seconds back in second place. Tom Bohli (SUI), who sat in the hot seat for most of the day, finished in third, six seconds off the pace.
Surrounded by inspiring views of the Red Hills Desert Garden at Pioneer Park on the northern cliffs above downtown St. George, van Garderen bested 116 other riders in the opening day of racing for the weeklong stage race. Pacing was key on the out-and-back 3.3-mile (5.3 kilometer) course, where temperatures soared above 100 degrees. The riders started with a mellow climb for the first two kilometers and continued with a short downhill to the turnaround.
A total of 36 riders are now separated by 20 seconds at the top of the standings, making for an exciting opening to the 14th edition of the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah. Finishing fourth, American Neilson Powless of Team LottoNL-Jumbo claimed the WCF Insurance Best Young Rider jersey. Sixth on the day, 11 seconds from the win, Serghei Tvetcov (ROM) of UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team was voted the America First Credit Union Fan Favorite, in the category of International Rider.
True to its nickname as “America’s Toughest Stage Race," the 2018 Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah, Aug. 6-12, will dish out 548 miles of racing and 43,780 feet of elevation gain. The UCI 2.HC-rated stage race began in St. George today with 17 professional teams, representing 20 countries.
Stage 1 presented by America First Credit Union returns to Cedar City for a fourth time on Tuesday, Aug. 7. The 101-mile (162.5 km) Stage 1 route includes 8,950 feet of elevation gain. It also features the highest climb of the week, passing Cedar Breaks National Monument at 10,600 feet. The course is similar to the one used in 2016, this year with a new circuit finish in downtown Cedar City. The first Utah Sports Commission Sprint line will be contested in Parowan, then hit a Category 1 climb at the top of Parowan Canyon at the ski resort town of Brian Head. This ascent climbs 4,500 vertical feet in 15 miles, with some sections challenging riders with a 15 percent gradient.
The Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah is free to all spectators, making professional cycling one of the most unique professional sports in the world today. The Tour of Utah remains a 2.HC-rated stage race on the UCI America Tour, making it one of the premier events for professional cycling teams in North America. It is also one of the prominent road cycling events that is also part of USA Cycling’s Pro Road Tour.