Tour of Utah-ah-ah: The toughest stage race in America

The organisers of the Tour of Utah had made their intentions clear. Their race would not be ordinary, nor would it pander to convention. Instead it would suit crazy people, specifically those with maps, crayons, and an authority bestowed upon them to create what looked to be the parcour from hell. By the end of it a State known for its winter downhills would begin to celebrate its summer ups.

The result on day one was a race profile that looked like a hollowed out volcano, with super-hero-climbing not seen since Adam West donned his Batman cape and scaled walls using nothing more than a rope from his utility belt, with a little help from a dramatic camera angle.

As if adding to the lunacy, the helicopter pilot performs a perfect handbrake turn above the riders.

But a race billed as “The toughest stage race in America”, had a name to live up to. Which might have explained why the race the profile looked like the result of some prison art therapy. The patient was likely a former rider, with the demented intention of denying anyone a race win ever again. And so, recalling a selection of razor sharp murder weapons, and presented with some blunt crayons, set about using each to design stage outlines.

The result must have been quite startling. The rest of the race features silhouettes of a bike spanner, a meat cleaver, a smashed beer bottle, a pipe wrench, a hook sword, and a set of brass knuckles.

Thankfully first impressions suggests riders could handle it, and in some style. That is if Ty Magner is anything to go by, or Brent Bookwalter who won stage 2, not to mention all that murderous scenery.

It might well look lunatic, but luckily some of us like lunatic. It’s one of the best races of the year.

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