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Tour of Utah, dubbed America’s Toughest Stage Race, is no match for coronavirus as 2020 event canceled

Concerns about COVID-19 forced officials to cancel the event, scheduled for Aug. 3-9

Tour of Utah bikers pass State Street and South Temple as Tour of Utah cyclists compete in the Stage 5 Salt Lake City Circuit on Friday, Aug. 7, 2015.
Tour of Utah bikers pass State Street and South Temple as they compete in the Stage 5 Salt Lake City Circuit on Friday, Aug. 7, 2015.
Stacie Scott, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Even America’s Toughest Stage Race was no match for the new coronavirus.

The 2020 Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah professional cycling stage race, scheduled for Aug. 3-9 this year, was canceled due to public health concerns about the coronavirus pandemic, officials announced in a press release Friday afternoon. The weeklong race is the only multiday men’s cycling stage race in North America on the UCI ProSeries.

“With the best interests of our host communities, riders, cycling fans and partners at heart, the Tour of Utah is focusing on the health and safety of all its participants and has made the difficult decision not to hold its race this August,” said Steve Miller, chairman of the Tour of Utah. “For the past 15 editions, this international cycling event has traveled the scenic byways of Utah, and we will miss gathering communities together to enjoy the race this year.”

This year’s race would have featured nine communities, including Herriman, Pleasant Grove, Provo, Payson, Park City, Snowbird and Ogden.

Known in the cycling community as “America’s Toughest Stage Race,” the Tour of Utah is free to all spectators, and it attracts large crowds who cheer on the best cyclists in the world.

Belgian Ben Hermans of the Israel Cycling Academy won the 2019 event, and EF Education First earned the first team title. The race covered 477 miles and 37,882 feet of elevation gain. Last year’s race attracted 400,000 spectators and was televised for 21 hours, reaching more than 400 million viewers around the world.

“The Tour of Utah has always been one of our marquee statewide sports events and is one of the most respected races in the cycling world,” said Jeff Robbins, president and CEO of the Utah Sports Commission. “With its international field of riders and worldwide digital and television reach, it is a wonderful showcase of the people and places in our state. We look forward to seeing the race return in 2021.”