Time trial vital to Louder's Utah defence

BMC rider could move closer to lead with good showing

Tour of Utah defending champion Jeff Louder is looking forward to the stage three time trial as an opportunity to move closer to his goal of winning a second consecutive title.

Friday's 14km individual time trial was held as the closing stage in last year's event. On that occasion Louder placed third behind stage winner Tom Zirbel (Bissell) and his own teammate Brent Bookwalter. Third place was all he needed to solidify his title as the overall winner of the 2008 Tour of Utah, his first stage race victory.

"Tomorrow is the time trial and it's a good event for me," Louder said. "It could be a really good day for BMC because we are all really good time trialists. Individually on that day I think we have a really good chance of winning."

A repeat victory atop the stage five's Snow Bird Ski Resort is also on the agenda for Louder, the second of two mountain top finishes held on Saturday. He won the race to the top of the decisive climb ahead of talented climbers Blake Caldwell (Garmin-Slipstream), Chris Baldwin (OUCH p/b Maxxis), Oscar Sevilla and Glen Chadwick (Rock Racing).

"There is a climb on Saturday too and that's really good for me," Louder said. "So there are two really hard stages left. I hope I feel better and keep going toward getting on the first step by Saturday."

For now, the Salt Lake City native is pleased to sport the event's Best Utah Rider jersey, taking it from David Zabriskie (DZ Nuts). "The Utah leader's jersey is exciting, it's cool," Louder said. "I'm happy to do that, to wear this jersey."

Though the local jersey is important, the BMC team has its efforts focused on bringing home the yellow jersey and its riders will do everything they can to support overall contenders Louder and prologue winner Brent Bookwalter.

"My team has performed really well," Louder said. "We were able to sit back and watch Rock Racing work today. My teammates brought me to the bottom of the climb fresh and kept me out of trouble. Even yesterday we rode really well. I know we gave up the jersey but by the way we rode in the prologue, with four guys in the top 10, showed that we are a really strong team."

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