Ashley Lowery, Deseret News
Cyclist Jeff Louder says the best part of the upcoming Tour of Utah bike race is traversing the state's amazing terrain.

With less than a week to go before the Tour of Utah makes its return after a one-year hiatus, local professional cyclists are putting the finishing touches on their training.

"It's an honor to be able to do a race like this in Utah," BMC Cycling's Jeff Louder said. "This has definitely been a priority for me since they announced the calendar."

The Tour of Utah bills itself as "America's toughest stage race," and when looking at the race profile it's hard to argue with the claim.

While a few domestic bike races attract top international teams, the Tour of Utah has something no other professional race has — more than 30,000 feet of climbing.

"The highlight of any race is the terrain," said Louder, a pro who grew up and still lives in Salt Lake City. "And it's amazing in Utah."

Louder, along with fellow competitors Burke Swindlehurst (Bissel Pro Cycling) and Bryson Perry (American RADD/agel), met with a handful of media members on Thursday to discuss the upcoming race which begins on Wednesday.

The five-day race, which starts Wednesday, will take participants from Nephi to Ogden and points in between for various stages and includes a $75,000 purse — the richest on this year's national racing calendar.

"We're pretty pumped," said race director Terry McGinnis. "It's turning out to be one of the best fields we've seen on the NRC this year."

The race wraps up Sunday with a time trial race at the Miller Motosports Park.


E-mail: jeborn@desnews.com