Tour of Utah cycling race canceled for the third straight year due to coronavirus
PARK CITY, Utah — The sports management firm that operates the Tour of Utah said on Wednesday it has ended the efforts to hold the cycling race in 2022, an early hit to Park City’s summer-tourism season.
Medalist Sports in a posting on the Tour of Utah website said the decision was made “despite ardent efforts to continue the Tour of Utah.” The firm requested the event be taken off the calendar of international cycling events, the posting said.
The posting included a comment from Chris Aronhalt, who is the Medalist Sports owner and president.
“On-going sponsor and host community discussions have been positive; however not strong enough to support a viable effort to meet our collective expectations,” he said. “While disappointed, Medalist Sports is grateful for the opportunity and cherishes the Tour of Utah’s legacy.”
Aronhalt did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment.
The Larry H. Miller Group of Companies in April said it and Medalist Sports had reached a licensing agreement for Medalist Sports to operate the Tour of Utah.
The Tour of Utah was canceled in 2020 and 2021 based on concerns about the novel coronavirus pandemic. The cancellation in 2020 was widely anticipated as decisions about large events were made in the early months of the spread of the virus, while the 2021 event was dropped in the spring, amid the continued concern.
The Larry H. Miller Group in March indicated the organizers wanted the event to return in 2022. The organizers said the event in 2019 drew 400,000 spectators throughout the course, which stretched through a large swath of northern Utah.
The Park City area had served as the final stage of the race, with the cyclists pedaling toward the finish line of the Tour of Utah on Main Street. The final day of the Tour of Utah, which was usually scheduled in early August, had been an especially busy one on Main Street and the wider Park City area. City Hall closed Main Street to traffic to allow the cyclists to start the final stage and then return for the finish line. The day was a celebration of cycling that attracted thousands for vendor displays and other activities related to the race. Main Street was outfitted with protective barriers and decorated for the event.
City Hall-compiled information dating to the approval process of an earlier edition of the Tour of Utah indicated a survey conducted by organizers for the 2016 event showed the race generated more than $22 million in economic impact in the state. The information did not identify a figure for the economic impact on Park City or Summit County, but it was likely an outsized amount since the local crowds were especially large. Numbers for more recent years were not immediately available.
Park City’s summer-tourism season has traditionally offered a mix of sporting events and cultural gatherings as draws to complement the outdoors activities, festivals, shopping and dining. Economic numbers in the two summers of the pandemic were strong even after cancellations like those of the Tour of Utah.
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