In July, the Tour of Utah announced a 17-team field, made up of six ProTeams (up from five), five UCI Professional Continental teams (up from four) and six UCI Continental teams (down from seven), thus giving the race a total of 17 teams (up from 16). In total, eight of the 16 teams that competed in 2011 were invited to return to this event, as well as a ProTeam that merged into another ProTeam (RadioShack-Nissan-Trek) and a team that competed in 2010, but did not get a place in 2011 (Bontrager-Livestrong). EPM-UNE is based in Colombia, and four of the five Professional Continental teams are not US-based, coming from Canada, China, the Netherlands and Germany.
In addition to all of the last four champions of the race -- (Jeff Louder (UnitedHealthcare), Francisco Mancebo (Competitive Cyclist) and two-time defending champion Levi Leipheimer (Omega Pharma-Quick Step)) -- the race included potential contenders Tom Danielson (Garmin), Christian Vande Velde (Garmin), David Zabriskie (Garmin) and Chris Horner (RadioShack-Nissan-Trek). The race was held during the 2012 Summer Olympics, and 11 current or former Olympians competed. Although each of the 17 teams was permitted to bring up to 8 starters (for a maximum of 136), the race included only 129 starters, because 3 of the ProTour teams (BMC, Omega Pharma-Quick Step, and Liquigas-Cannondale) brought only 6 and a fourth (Rabobank) brought only 7.
August 7, 2012 -- Ogden - Ogden, Medium mountain stage, 131 miles (211 km)
For the first time, the Tour of Utah started with a full stage instead of a prologue. Although the route included five categorized climbs, a select peloton of 40 returned to downtown Ogden with the lead, resulting in a sprint finish. After a few attempted breakaways in the final kilometers were thwarted, Rory Sutherland of UnitedHealthcare outsprinted the field, finishing several bike lengths ahead of Damiano Caruso of Liquigas-Cannondale, Brent Bookwalter of BMC Racing Team and Lawson Craddock of Bontrager-Livestrong. Although the lead pack all finished in the same time, the first three across the finish line and intermediate sprint placers received time bonuses that gave them the lead.
August 8, 2012 -- Miller Motorsports Park, team time trial, 13.5 miles (21.7 km)
Team time in the team time trial was determined by the fifth member of the team to cross the finish line. The stage was easily won by the Garmin-Sharp team, pushing American Christian Vande Velde into the overall lead. Levi Leipheimer's chances to defend his championships probably came to an end on this stage, as his weak Omega Pharma-Quick Step team, which only started with six riders, quickly dropped one rider and then repeatedly had to sit up to avoid dropping a second rider, placing last among the 17 teams and losing over two minutes as a result.