Tour de France workhorse Richie Porte is downplaying expectations as he tackles alternative heights in Colorado this week.
The Hadspen rider is again teaming up with Tour champion Chris Froome as Sky sends an experimental team to the USA Pro Challenge.
The week-long event is known for its altitude, with most of the early stages above 2200 metres and Independence Pass peaking at 3686m.
Porte said that having enjoyed a well-earned rest since Paris, his form was a shadow of what it was a month ago.
''In my current shape I'm not really looking forward to the climbs too much,'' he said.
''It's going to be nice to struggle over Independence Pass at the back of the peloton.''
The 28-year-old said he and Froome were in the US to support the team's home-country riders, 22-year-olds Joe Dombrowski and Ian Boswell, and veteran Danny Pate, 34.
''We do have a good strong team here, so it's going to be nice to see the young American guys, Joe Dombrowski and Ian Boswell, and the other young American, Danny Pate, have some opportunities,'' Porte said.
Froome said the altitude reminded him of his birthplace in Kenya.
''We've been out here three or four days now, and each day you feel better and better progressively,'' he said.
''I think that just adds a whole new dimension on to the race. It limits the efforts you can make. So that's something very new. I've never done a race at altitude before.
''It's a similar feeling to going back up to Nairobi, but that's only 2000 metres, so this is taking it to another level.
''Richie and myself have had a little bit of a break since the Tour so we're probably not going as well as we were.
''But we're going to be here to do what we can to help the rest of our teammates.''
Meanwhile, Porte's fellow Tasmanian and future Sky teammate Nathan Earle has returned to the Tour of Borneo seeking to improve on his runner-up finish last year.
The Huon-Genesys rider of Hobart also won two stages in 2012 and, with defending champion Michael Torckler absent, is optimistic of further improvement.
Fielding just a four-man team, Andrew Christie-Johnston's outfit will rely heavily on the experience of fellow Hobartian Jai Crawford.
''The route looks easier than last year but with just four riders it will be difficult to chase the overall victory,'' said Earle, who collected some king of the mountain points in Sunday's heat-sapping 108-kilometre opening stage won by fellow Australian Paul Van Der Ploeg in a bunch sprint.
Australia is one of only eight countries to earn the full complement of nine riders for the elite men's road race at the UCI road world championships in Florence, Italy. The week of racing begins with 51 men's trade teams contesting the 56.8 kilometre team time trial on September 22.