Team Type 1-Sanofi's experienced Swiss rider Rubens Bertogliati is currently holding the mountains classification lead heading into the final stage of the Tour of Utah, but he faces a tough challenge to keep it on the final stage to Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort.
Having won a stage of the Tour de France and held the maillot jaune for two days in 2002, the 32-year-old is no stranger to the podium, but he said wearing the snowflake-patterned Ski Utah King of the Mountains jersey was an honor.
"It's beautiful, wonderful," Bertogliati said. "It's always good to be on the podium. You show that you are present - you try to give your best in every race you do. The podium is always fantastic."
He claimed the lead on the first stage in Ogden after taking two of the three mountain primes on offer. "It was the right break the first day," he said, but with the only other points coming on the final stage he has to get the stage just right to bring the win home.
"We will see tomorrow how it goes, but I hope to keep it until the end. I'm not really a climber, but I'm good in the small sprint in the uphill. I have the jersey now, my goal is to defend it."
There are 20 points available on the stage to Snowbird, the first climb comes mid-way through the stage on the Alpine loop, where Bertogliati will hope to win the points from a breakaway.
"The finish is very hard, and the GC guys will be contending for the Tour of Utah, so for me it is better to be in the breakaway, if I can do the first one, than it will be very easy to defend it."
Bertogliati currently has 20 points. His main competition comes from his prior breakaway companions, UnitedHealthCare's Brad White who is in second with 18 and Jay Thomson (Bissell) with 14.