Fires along the Wasatch front have increased particulate matter in the air around Salt Lake City. That can be hard on people exercising, especially cyclists racing in the tour of Utah.
Race directors say air quality conditions aren’t bad enough to change plans. But they’re getting input from riders to make sure conditions stay safe enough to race. Frank Zang is the Spokesperson for the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah.
“The air quality is less than desirable, and it will impact people differently, the riders are used to competing in a variety of conditions, whether it’s rain, snow, heat, or cold" he says. "But it’s certainly something that we will continue to monitor in the days ahead.”
Cyclists spend two stages of the race in the Salt Lake valley. In stage 4 of the race, competitors ride from Lehi to Kerns, and in Stage 5 they will race from Antelope Island to Bountiful.
Frank Zang says riders have been fine during stage 4 of the race, even in Salt Lake City’s orange air quality. He says these top cyclists have competed in the Olympics and Grand Tour events, and are used to competing in less-than-ideal environments.
“It’s part of the sport – the conditions – because it’s an outdoor activity" he says. "I think everyone has to be more careful when some of the weather conditions may affect your ability to compete, you know, in a world-class event.”
Zang says he’s only worried about the pollution as riders go through Salt Lake valley. The air quality should improve as the race reaches the mountains during stages 6 and 7, where it concludes.