Tanner Putt prepares for third Tour of Utah | ParkRecord.com

Tanner Putt prepares for third Tour of Utah

When Tanner Putt rides in this year’s Tour of Utah bicycle race Aug. 3-9, he’ll be participating in the event for the third time.

However, this year will be a lot different for the 23-year-old Parkite. In addition to riding for a different team than last year, he’ll also be racing in a different role.

After leaving the Bissell Development Team (now called Axeon Racing), Putt joined the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team.

"I’m really excited," he said. "I’ve had a great year with them. It’s a great team and they’re a good fit for me."

Putt has seen his career take several steps forward this year with the UHC squad. He’s raced in some of the top cycling events in the world, including the famous Paris-Roubaix race.

"Those races are some of the biggest races in the world," he said. "The level at those races is really, really high. They’re really hard and really long races, but racing at that level makes you stronger."

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Though he’s been improving his riding this year, Putt won’t be putting those new skills to use for his own personal gain at the Tour of Utah. Instead, he’ll be riding in support of teammates.

"Being one of the younger and newer guys on the team, I’ll be riding in support, especially in the sprint stages for John Murphy," Putt said. "My purpose in the race is to help him. You need a good team to win sprints. I want to be able to do my best and make sure he enters the sprints in perfect position so all he has to worry about is the sprint."

Last year, Putt won a sprint of his own, as well as a King of the Mountain competition, while finishing 35th overall. However, he said he has no problem sacrificing his individual results to help a teammate succeed.

"I kind of like the support role," he said. "Our sprinter, John, is really good and has a good shot at winning a couple of the sprint days, so whatever I can do to help him, I’ll do."

The Tour of Utah will also be a family reunion for Putt. After riding on the same team as his brother, Chris, last year, the two Park City natives will be riding for different teams this year when Tanner suits up for UHC and Chris rides for Axeon Racing.

Putt said he’s excited to see his brother, who has been racing in Europe for several months.

"He was just racing in Italy this last month," Putt said. "This will be the first time I’ve seen him since December. It’ll be good racing with him again. Going through Park City where we grew up together is pretty special."

The entire Tour of Utah race is special for Putt, but he said the final stage that ends on Park City’s Main Street is especially meaningful.

"This is one of my favorite races of the year because it’s my hometown race," he said. "[Stage 7] is awesome. It’s always the biggest crowd. I watched this race when I was a little kid, but racing in it and riding for a team like UnitedHealthcare makes it even more special."

As the race draws nearer, Putt is excited to start riding and wants to see how well the UHC Pro Cycling Team fares.

"We have a really strong team coming," he said. "We’re hoping for a couple good results."

The 2015 Tour of Utah begins on Monday, Aug. 3, in Logan and ends on Sunday, Aug. 9, on Park City’s Main Street. For more information on the 2015 Tour of Utah, visit http://www.tourofutah.com .

Tour of Utah Schedule

Stage 1 — Logan — Aug. 3

Stage 2 — Tremonton to Ogden — Aug. 4

Stage 3 — Antelope Island to Bountiful — Aug. 5

Stage 4 — Soldier Hollow — Aug. 6

Stage 5 — Salt Lake City — Aug. 7

Stage 6 — Salt Lake City to Snowbird — Aug. 8

Stage 7 — Park City — Aug. 9