NetApp-Endura competes at the Dauphiné for the first time
Thanks to a wildcard, NetApp-Endura will be competing for the first time at the Critérium du Dauphiné, which starts next Sunday. The tour is considered one of the most important races on the international racing calendar. The 65th edition of the Dauphiné kicks off in Switzerland. All together, the tour will include eight stages, covering 1,117 km through southeastern France. This is the seventh wildcard for a WorldTour race, which Team NetApp – Endura received so far this season.
The line-up for the Critérium du Dauphiné includes:
Jan Barta (28, CZE) – David de la Cruz (24, ESP) – Bartosz Huzarski (32, POL) – Leo Koenig (25, CZE) – Jose Mendes (28, POR) – Andreas Schillinger (29, GER) – Paul Voss (27,GER) – Alex Wetterhall (27, SWE)
“We’ll be competing with the best riders on the team at the moment, the ones we’ve scored our victories with over the past weeks and the ones who have the skills to come through in the high mountains,” reports an optimistic Ralph Denk, NetApp-Endura’s Team Manager.
“The so-called ‘mini Tour de France’ is a highlight for our team, alongside the Tour of California and the Vuelta a España. We’ll ride offensively, show what we’re capable of, and maybe even come up with a surprise. Just like the organizers know we can do,” Denk adds.
In addition to an individual time trial, which takes place midway through the tour, this year’s Dauphiné includes four mountain stages in the Alps and three hilly stages.
“The stages are really difficult and not so suited for sprinters. This tour is set up for riders who are good climbers. Therefore, we’ll be competing with all of our mountain specialists. One of our riders, Leo Koenig, has it in him to score a good spot in the general classification,” explains Enrico Poitschke with optimism.
“If Jan Barta maintains his current form right down to the individual time trial, or can even improve on it, then he has a chance to finish in the top 10. Otherwise, we’ll try our luck in breakaway groups and keep an eye on a good stage result,” says Poitschke.
“It will be my first ProTour race this year so it is one of my highlights of the season with the difficult mountain profile which should suit me. I don‘t want to put any pressure on me so I take it easy as I have clear goals and I am well prepared. Of course confidence is important and after the first victory of the season I am even more motivated to do well in the Dauphiné”, Leo Koenig comments on his start at the Critérium du Dauphiné.