Canadian James Piccoli won the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah Prologue on Monday, finishing the 3.2-mile course at Snowbird Resort in 8 minutes, 37 seconds.
“It’s a great confidence boost going into the week,” said Piccoli, of Elevate-KHS Pro Cycling. “For sure, seven seconds is not going to be the difference this week between winning and losing with some of the climbs coming up, which are quite beautiful, but also quite hard. But it’s a great way to start the week.”
American Lawson Craddock of EF Education First finished 6 seconds back in second place.
Romanian time trial champion Serghei Tvetcov of Worthy Pro Cycling, who was third overall in 2017, finished in third, half a second behind Tvetcov.
On a picture-perfect day with a backdrop of Mount Superior in the Wasatch Mountains, Piccoli bested 112 other riders on the opening day of racing for the weeklong stage race. Pacing was key on the out-and-back course, half of it on the steep pitches in Little Cottonwood Canyon.
Starting at one-minute intervals, the riders went vertical from the start before flying down the fast 1.5-mile descent to the finish line, hitting speeds of 50 miles per hour.
“It was a really tough prologue. I came to see it with our team Elevate-KHS a couple of days ago and since then I’ve ridden it a couple of times, trying to refine my pacing strategy,” Piccoli said. “It was quite complicated with the altitude here at Snowbird and the corners, and the tricky up and down pacing strategy so I rode it a couple of times, a couple of times hard, and every time I got closer to what I wanted to do and today it ended up working out.”
Twenty-five riders are separated by 30 seconds at the top of the standings heading into Tuesday’s Stage 1, a 90.2-mile course with the start/finish line in North Logan.