Great Britain-registered UCI Continental team Endura Racing is using the high-altitude and mountainous terrain at this week's Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah as a platform for its season target at the Tour of Britain held from September 11-18. Jack Bauer is currently the team's highest placed rider, sitting in eighth overall, at the stateside event.
"We just flew in a couple of days before the start of the race and this was a big shock to the system being at the high altitude situation that we are in," Bauer told Cyclingnews. "I nearly coughed up a lung at the top of the climb in the prologue."
Endura Racing sent a team of eight to the Tour of Utah that also includes Paul Voss, Iker Camano, John Anderson, Rene Mandri, Robert Partridge, Scott Thwaites and Alexander Wetterhall.
The team directeur sportif will select a six-man team for the Tour of Britain out of the eight riders participating in the Tour of Utah. "This is a good lead-up into the Tour of Britain, which is our home race at the end of September," Bauer said. "This whole week at altitude and riding against such high caliber teams is preparation for that event."
According to Bauer, the team's best short at a strong overall placing is with Camano. However, he dropped his chain in the opening prologue and is sitting 24 seconds behind the top overall race leaders Sergio Henao (Gobernacion de Antioquia), Francisco Mancbeo (RealCyclist.com) and Oscar Sevilla (Gobernacion de Antioquia).
Other top contenders include Tejay Van Garderen (HTC-Highroad), Tom Danielson (Garmin-Cervelo), Levi Leipheimer (RadioShack) and Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Cervelo).
"I don't think I can contest the classification here, I am not here for that," Bauer said. "This course and the whole tour is built around people that can climb serious mountains. This prologue was a two-kilometre stint up a hill. It will really be down to stage one or the next days coming up."
"Our objectives are for stage wins," he said. "We have a Spaniard, Camano, who is a very good climber. I will do my best to support him. I would have expected him to be in the top ten in the prologue if he didn't have a mechanical."