Southern Utah News Articles
Public invited to watch Tour of Utah cyclists up close at Zion National Park
The public is invited to enjoy a unique experience as the 2016 Tour of Utah brings some of the world’s best cyclists to Springdale, where they will kick off Stage 1 of what is called “America’s Toughest Stage Race” in Zion Canyon on August 1.
A shuttle bus is available to take cycling fans to watch the start of the race. The bus begins loading at 5:30 a.m. at Dixie High in St. George, and will make a pick-up stop at Hurricane High at 6:15 a.m., before reaching its final destination in Springdale. The shuttle will begin its return trip around noon at the conclusion of the stage.
“I don’t think you can quantify the positive impact that cycling has in this area,” said Kevin Lewis, Director of the St. George Area Sports Commission, “and I can’t think of a more stunning backdrop for a cycling event than the towering cliffs of Zion National Park.”
Lewis said bringing the Tour of Utah to Springdale “creates a powerful visual connection” for two of the key elements in the area’s brand as a destination. “What better image can you have to solidify our active/adventure brand than seeing the world’s best cyclists competing in the grandeur of Zion National Park,” Lewis said.
The cyclists begin their ride at 7:55 a.m. at the entrance to the park at Zion Canyon Village. After entering the park, cyclists will work their way up the switchbacks and through the tunnel on State Route 9 to the east entrance of the park, where they will hit full speed as racing officially begins on Highway 89.
During the event, the park will remain open to the general public, however shuttle service will be suspended briefly as the cyclists begin. State Route 9 within the park will be closed to automobiles as needed to accommodate the race.
Spectators are welcome at Zion Canyon Village for the race start, and the Zion Canyon Theatre will air Stage 1 on its giant IMAX screen free of charge. Due to safety concerns, spectator and staging areas are not allowed inside the park.
“This is an exciting opportunity allowing people to get an up-close look at some of the top professional cycling teams in the world – almost like watching the Tour de France without the hassle of needing a passport,” said Nate Wells, General Manager of Zion Canyon Village. “It’s an exciting time to host this event during the National Park centennial year and, in the tradition of the great stage races, highlight our most scenic roadways.”
The cost of the round-trip shuttle is $10. All fees will be donated directly to the Zion National Park Foundation and the Southern Utah Bicycle Alliance. Shuttle tickets can be purchased and more information can be found on https://www.eventbrite.com/e/busride-to-zion-canyon-village-stage-one-of-the-tour-of-utah-tickets-26124152042.