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Tour of Utah Meets in Zion National Park

The 2016 Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah announced earlier this week the routes and stages of the 704-mile race that will take place August 1-7. This year is the centennial of the National Park Service and to celebrate, Zion National Park is teaming up with the Tour of Utah to show off the state’s iconic scenery.

JennAndrs, the executive director of the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah, said this is the third year the race has started in Southern Utah but this is the first time the race will begin in Zion National Park. They chose to host the race in Zion, despite the threat of the fragile ecosystem due to the increasing number of park-goers each year. Last year alone, a record-breaking 3.6 million tourists visited the park.

“We’ve been working very closely with the National Parks Service to get their approval to grant access to ride through Zion National Park during stage one,” Andrs said.

Alyssa Baltrus, public information officer for Zion National Park, said the bikers won’t actually be racing through the park.

“It’s not so much a race, but a demonstration of racing,” she said. “They’ll not be racing through the park. They’ll be racing after the park.”

Andrs said spectators will not be allowed inside the park to view the race.

“We really felt like it was an opportunity for us to partner with the national parks to showcase the great scenery,” she said. “The iconic red rock of the south are really signature to the state and we want to showcase those to the international cycling community.”

The rest of the stages of the 2016 Tour of Utah, which is in its 12th year, include Escalante to Torrey, Richfield to Payson, Lehi to Kearns, Antelope Island State Park to Bountiful, Snowbasin Resort to Snowbird Resort and will end in Park City.