Tour of Utah 2015

Cover: Tour of Utah 2015
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media
Article by Kim Hull


In its first tour since being awarded 2.HC status by the UCI, which placed the race at the same level as the Tour of Qatar, Critérium International, Amgen Tour of California and USA Pro Challenge, the Tour of Utah 2015 began in the north on August 3rd in Logan, Utah.

Kiel Reijnen, UnitedHealthcare, Tour of Utah 2015 Stage 1
Kiel Reijnen, UnitedHealthcare, Tour of Utah 2015 Stage 1 Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

The 2015 Tour of Utah included…

  • 712 miles/1,145.85 kilometers – second longest course in 11 years
  • 51,442 feet/15,679.5 meters of elevation gain – most climbing of any race in North America
  • 7 stages – second year for full week
  • 10 ski resorts – highest number of ski resorts passed 
  • Extended outside Utah to the Bear Lake region of Idaho
  • 3 new state parks along route – Bear Lake State Park, Antelope Island State Park and Wasatch Mountain State Park
  • 2 courses unveiled for Tour of Utah Women’s Edition: Criterium Classic in Logan and Ogden
Greg Daniels, Johann Van Zyl, Taylor Phinney, Kiel ReiJnen, Alex Howes
Greg Daniels, Johann Van Zyl, Taylor Phinney, Kiel ReiJnen, Alex Howes, Tour of Utah 2015 Stage 1 Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Kiel Reijnen (United Healthcare) kicked off the race, winning the first stage in Logan after a rain-soaked day of riding, edging out fellow Boulder riders, Alex Howes (Cannondale-Garmin) and Taylor Phinney (BMC Racing) at the line.

In Taylor Phinney’s first appearance since suffering serious injuries in a crash 62 weeks ago at Nationals, Phinney stepped on the podium.

Tour of Utah 2015 Stage 1
Tour of Utah 2015 Stage 1 Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Throughout the week, the race made visits to Tremonton, Ogden, Antelope Island, and Bountiful, Soldier Hollow, Heber Valley, Salt Lake City, Snowbird and Park City.

Alex Howes (Cannondale-Garmin), Kiel Reijnen (United Healthcare) , Taylor Phinney (BMC Racing) Tour of Utah 2015 Stage 1
Alex Howes (Cannondale-Garmin), Kiel Reijnen (United Healthcare), Taylor Phinney (BMC Racing) Tour of Utah 2015 Stage 1 Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Jure Kocjan (Team Smartstop) won the bunch sprint in Ogden and picked up the stage 2 win. Robin Carpenter (Hincapie Racing Team) was second and Brent Bookwalter (BMC Racing Team) was third.

Jure Kocjan, Team SmartStop, Tour of Utah 2015 Stage 2
Jure Kocjan, Team SmartStop, Tour of Utah 2015 Stage 2 Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

With the win, Jure Kocjan took the yellow jersey from Kiel Reijnen, then passed it on to Michael Woods following stage 3. As the race made its way around northern Utah, fans turned out to cheer their favorite team and watch the behind the scenes action.

BMC Racing Team, Tour of Utah 2015 Stage 2
Tour of Utah 2015 Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Kiel Reijnen, Danny Summerhill, UnitedHealthcare, Tour of Utah 2015 Stage 2

Joe Dombrowski took over the race lead with stage 6 and held on until the finish line in Park City, winning the overall race for 2015.

Tommy Danielson, Team Cannondale-Garmin, Tour of Utah 2015

Tom Danielson out of Tour of Utah after testing positive for testosterone

Cover: Tommy Danielson, Team Cannondale-Garmin, Tour of Utah 2015
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Tom Danielson (Cannondale-Garmin) announced Sunday night via Twitter that he has been informed by USADA that he tested positive for a synthetic steroid in an out-of-competition test on July 9.

Tom Danielson tests positive for testosterone

Danielson was in Logan, Utah to defend his title at the Tour of Utah, which he’d won for the past two years.

Danielson continued on Twitter:

“I spoke with them and my team and I will have to sit out the Tour of Utah as I wait for the B sample as well as look into all the possible ways that could have produced this result.”

“I would never ever take anything like this especially after everything I have gone through the last years. This makes absolutely no sense.”

“I will now, as I wait for the B test, have the supplements I take, tested to see if this is what caused it.”

Tommy Danielson, Team Cannondale-Garmin, Tour of Utah 2015
Tommy Danielson, Team Cannondale-Garmin, Tour of Utah 2015
Photo: Greg K. Hull © Chasing Light Media

Slipstream Sports, owners of Team Cannondale-Garmin, issued the following statement:

Tom Danielson notified Slipstream Sports that he was informed by USADA that he has returned an adverse analytical A sample using carbon isotope testing. In accordance with Slipstream Sports’ zero tolerance anti-doping policy, he has been suspended from competition, effective immediately. He awaits the results his B sample.  Slipstream respects and will adhere to the process of the anti-doping authorities and will not comment further. 

Taylor Phinney, Tour of Utah 2015

Race sponsors – where marketing intersects with cycling

Cover:c Taylor Phinney, Tour of Utah 2015
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media
Article by Kim Hull


You see their logos on banners, barricades and race vehicles. Stages are named after them. They present gifts to the riders on podiums. Their logos are on the stage winners’ jerseys.

They are cycling race sponsors – the businesses that make pro cycling races possible.

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Cadel Evans, Tour of Utah 2015 Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Where marketing intersects with cycling

Marketing at cycling races is as old as cycling races themselves.

The first Tour de France in 1903 was conceived by Géo Lefèvre of the newspaper L’Auto (predecessor of today’s L’Équipe) to increase circulation after sales stagnated to which they attributed to their longtime competitor Le Vélo.

Cycling races had previously been used to promote newspaper sales but no one had tried such a long distance race. The first Tour de France started on the 1st of July in 1903 in the village of Montgeron and, as they say, the rest is history. Along the way, it’s gotten a bit more commercial. One of the most popular aspects of the current day Tour de France is the publicity tour that precedes the race each day, arriving an hour before the riders to the delight of the fans as they scramble to collect the hats, food, product samples and trinkets tossed from the parade.

A cycling race is a big – and yes, commercial – event. Bringing the event to fruition is a huge undertaking with thousands of people and months of work involved. It is not a cheap endeavor.

Enter the sponsors.

Just like publishing or television, sponsors are required to bring content to market. In this case, it just happens that the content is the race.

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Tour de France 2015 Publicity Caravan Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

And, while some sponsors are happy with a logo on a barricade, others are a bit more inventive. Such was the case with Malouf, a creative company headquartered in Logan, Utah, the host city for the start of the 2015 Tour of Utah.

Sweet dreams for the Tour of Utah 2015 riders

When Jake Neeley of Malouf heard the riders at the Tour of Utah would be staying in the dorms at Utah State University, he saw an opportunity to improve the spot where these pro cyclists placed their heads during the race.

Malouf, a maker of high-quality pillows and sleep products, gave each rider of the 2015 Tour of Utah a pillow of their choice during the team presentation ceremonies prior to the race. The riders had fun with the project and seemed to thoroughly enjoy the selection process.

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Jeff Louder, Brent Bookwalter, BMC Racing Team, Tour of Utah 2015 Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

With a professional bike race in our back yard and a good number of employees who race locally, our interest in sponsoring the Tour of Utah came quite easily. That interest went beyond just getting our logo printed on a banner or having our name mentioned during race events; we wanted to make a more personal impact. As a creator of high-end pillows, we knew we could promote better recovery by giving each rider a pillow to use during the race and after.

As each team left the stage, I loved seeing the excitement of the riders when they learned we were giving them a pillow! We gave away over 200 pillows, but dozens of pillow filled selfies was all worth it.

If this is the fastest Tour of Utah to date, we might just have to take some credit.”

Jake Neeley
Marketing Communications Manager, Malouf

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BMC Racing Team, Tour of Utah 2015 Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media