Yesterday I posted about some cycling events in and around Salt Lake. Among them is the Tour of Utah which kicks off tomorrow, August 13, 2008. Advertised as "America's Toughest Stage Race", it will attract top pro cyclists from around the country and even the world. It's a 336 mile, 5-day race which takes cyclists up over 30,000 feet during the various stages - all within 100 mile radius of Salt Lake City. Whether you're visiting Salt Lake or a seasoned local, this event is not to be missed and will be unlike any other event in the area, perhaps in the country. Cyclists will compete for a $75,000 purse including a brand new automobile - surely enough to inspire intense competition. Here is a rundown of the various stages:

Stage 1 - Sanpete Road Race

This stage is 101 miles of flat to rolling terrain that start and finish in Nephi, Utah. ( Nephi is 85 miles south of Salt Lake City)

Stage 2 - University Health Care Road Race

This stage starts in Historic Downtown Ogden and head east into the mountain valleys of Huntsville and Morgan after which it heads into East Canyon to finally descend Emigration Canyon to finish in Salt Lake. Featuring four big climbs and traveling 84 miles this stage will be a fun one to watch from any of the summits or valleys.

Stage 3- Toyota Dealers Downtown Criterium

This will be all action, packed into one large city block of downtown Salt Lake City. I'm definitely going to be setting up camp in Pioneer Park to watch the 90 minutes of a - mile circuit surrounding Pioneer Park, this will be a stage you'll not want to miss.

Stage 4 - Snowbird Road Race

Starting in Park City, this stage then descends into the Heber Valley and then cascades down Provo Canyon. Turning right past Sundance Resort going up and over the Alpine Loop it then drops to to town of Alpine only to climb yet again over the Draper hills into the Salt Lake Valley. The final ascent to Snowbird Resort where it finishes near the top of Little Cottonwood Canyon will be exciting to watch.

Stage 5 - Miller Motorsports Park Time Trial

This is a 12 mile out and back race against the clock in Tooele ( Tooele is 34 miles west of Salt Lake City) at the Miller Motorsports Park Be sure to watch the Tour of Utah website for daily updates, current leaders and to see maps of each of the stages listed above. --images courtesy of Tour of Utah