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Tour of Utah elevates cycling success

By Sam Penrod | Posted - Aug. 14, 2011 at 10:01 p.m.

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SALT LAKE CITY -- A cycling event in Utah this week hasn't been a test, it has been the real deal.

The Tour of Utah competition concluded Sunday afternoon at Snowbird, after cyclists traveled more than 400 miles through difficult terrain. The weeklong race has attracted professional cyclists from all around the United States, and even some from around the world.

Much of the tour took cyclists through difficult terrains, but participants and spectators got to enjoy the scenic beauty of Utah.

With bells, signs and even a penguin costume, members of the Bonneville Cycling Club joined hundreds of people who lined the road in Little Cottonwood Canyon to see the final stage of the Tour of Utah.

It's nice to see lots and lots of spectators be excited about this. Hopefully we get bigger and bigger every year.

–Jay Kirsch

"I love the tour," said Doug Jensen, a member of the Bonneville Cycling Club. "Just watching the cyclists and to get this level of cycling in Utah is incredible."

"This brings money into town. This brings excitement into town and it also promotes cycling," added Jay Kirsch, who is also a member of the Bonneville Cycling Club. "Everyone should ride a bike. Biking is a great hobby -- anyone can do it. Not everyone can do the Tour of Utah, it's a very hard race."

KSL's Chopper 5 followed the cyclists as they made their final elevation climb of three thousand feet up the canyon to Snowbird, which was the final six miles of the 409 mile race. Levi Leipheimer, the defending champion, won the six day event.

"I'm very proud to win the race, especially this year because it has grown up a lot," Leipheimer said. "This year, it has been a UCI race and brought in a number of world tour teams."

This year's winner of the Tour de France, Cadel Evans of Australia, was at the finish line to congratulate the cyclists.

"I've raced a lot in America and so I understand the passion there is for cycling, and the interest there is for cycling in America," Evans said.

Utah cycling fans hope the Tour of Utah will keep attracting the world's best.

"It's nice to see lots and lots of spectators be excited about this," Kirsch said. "Hopefully we get bigger and bigger every year."

The Tour of Utah paid out more than $115,000 in prize money and certainly generated a lot of interest in cycling for the state of Utah.



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Sam Penrod


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