The Tour of Utah wrapped up Sunday with thousands of fans greeting the cyclists both on the course and at the finish line on Main Street in Park City.
While the seven-day bicycle race across the Beehive State drew boisterous cheers from thousands of fans, perhaps it was the praise of the riders themselves that proves this 10-year-old race is only going to get bigger.
"The ambience on this tour is unbelievable," Cadel Evans, Stage 6 & 7 winner, said shortly after winning Stage 6 up a difficult climb in front of thousands of cheering fans who had lined the course up Little Cottonwood Canyon.
Austrian rider Riccardo Zoidl was part of a four-man group on Saturday's breakaway that churned up Little Cottonwood Canyon. He said this is his first tour, but it certainly won't be his last.
"About 5K from the finish I was exhausted but I heard the crowds and they gave my legs life," Zoidl said. "This is my first time in the Tour of Utah, and I love it already."
The winner of the race, Tom Danielson, talked all week about what a superb and challenging course the riders were seeing.
"A lot of races we participate in are go from Point A to Point B," Danielson said. "This whole tour was constructed in a way that was very fan friendly, technically challenging with some stretches of very difficult riding."
That difficult riding featured several climbs that compare favorably with some of the most challenging courses in any tour around the world.
Evans, who forged a friendship with Tour of Utah President, Steve Miller, who invited Evans to stay with him and watch the tour in 2011, had only positive things to say about the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah.
"I don't know anyone who has ever seen the tour or participated in it to not want to come to Utah and give it a try," he said.
comments on this story
As the Tour of Utah moves on to its 11th year, Aug. 3 to Aug. 9 of 2015, tour president Miller says they hope to see the event continue to grow.
"We're going to keep it at a seven-stage tour, but I think it's safe to say we'd like to visit parts of Utah that we haven't visited before," he said.
Miller's vision for 2015 is to add a few other professional teams to the race and bring even more talented athletes to compete in what many are calling the toughest bike race in North America.