Team NetApp–Endura Reveals its Ambitions for 2014 Season
The highest ranked German professional road cycling team is heading into 2014 with its sights set high. By combining its existing range of riders, who delivered impressive and continuous results on the roads in 2013, with a number of new signings brought on board to further reinforce the team, Team NetApp–Endura is aiming to take part in the Tour de France for the first time in 2014.
"The Tour de France 2014 is definitively the target we have set for ourselves. With our successes at the 2013 Vuelta a España, we showed exactly what potential this team has. Year by year we have set ourselves ever higher targets and have always backed this up with strong results. Consequently, we should now strive to participate in the biggest race of the year," Ralph Denk, Team Manager of Team NetApp – Endura, explained to RoadCycling.com.
If NetApp-Endura succeeds at taking part in this year's Tour de France, it would represent the first time since 2010 that a German team has been at the start of the most important event on the pro road cycling calendar.
"Our story is unique," explains Denk and adds "Within just a few years we have managed to develop riders from amateur level to a point where they guarantee success in the biggest races. The fact that all our top performers chose to continue riding for us in spite of offers to join the WorldTour teams speaks for itself. This continuity is crucial in giving us the confidence needed to participate in the Tour de France," Denk continues.
For the best stage race riders in the team, Tirreno–Adriatico should be the highlight of the 2014 Spring season. "Unfortunately, I wasn't able to participate there (Tirreno-Adriatico) last year. With the individual and team time trials as well as the mountain top finish in the ski resort of Cittareale, Tirreno–Adriatico is my kind of race. With this team behind me, I believe I can ride into the top 10 and perhaps shake things up nice and early in the season," team leader Leo Koenig, who won a stage in the 2013 Vuelta a Espana, told Roadcycling.com.
"Tirreno–Adriatico would be our tour highlight of the spring. Last year our team performed well there. We put up a real fight for the KOM jersey, we were the best wildcard team in both time trials and at the same time we had two riders in the GC top 25. But we still have the potential to do better and that's what we want to prove this year. I am confident that the Tour de France organizers ASO will assess the quality of our team positively. We are hoping for a wildcard,", Denk concludes and thereby reveals his optimism.
The 2014 season offers the NetApp-Endura team an attractive and demanding race calendar. "We will get started with racing at the beginning of February, and the classics specialists can look forward to a packed program in the spring. I hope that we will race in three of the Monuments and that we can add another new classic from the WorldTour to our calendar," Denk explains from his office in Hamburg, Germany.