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Tiago Machado (RadioShack Leopard) on stage for winning the KOM classification at the Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec
Irish sprinter arrives after Tour of Britain success
Team Netapp-Endura has announced the signing of Sam Bennett and Tiago Machado for the 2014 season. “We’re betting on continuity. We had a very successful season in 2013 and we demonstrated our team's current level of performance most recently at the Vuelta a España,” team manager Ralph Denk said.
The German Pro Continental team won ten races this season with Leopold König’s stage victory in the Vuelta the highlight. König also won the stage to Mount Diablo in the Amgen Tour of California, while Alexander Wetterhall and Blaz Jarc delivered success in the one-day races GP Stad Zottegem and Ronde van Drenthe.
Sam Bennett is a new addition to the team after three years with An Post-Chainreaction. Netapp-Endura recruited him especially for his qualities in the sprint. The young Irishman demonstrated that this season in the Tour of Britain where he won the stage to Caerphilly, having previously lost out narrowly to Milan-San Remo winner Gerald Ciolek at Kendal.
“Sam is among the best up-and-coming sprinters in Europe. He will be a valuable addition to our squad of young sprinters,” team manager Ralph Denk explained.
Tiago Machado is an experienced Grand Tour rider with two appearances at the Giro d’Italia and two at the Vuelta a España under his belt. The 27-year-old Portuguese rider turned professional with Radioshack in 2010 but found no place in the Trek Factory Team for 2014.
“We signed Tiago specifically for the general classification at shorter stage races. And with his climbing skills, he will provide added support for Leo König at the bigger tours,” said Denk.
The spine of the team for 2014 is now in place, but Netapp-Endura is keeping its eyes open on the transfer market where a lot of riders are still without a contract for next season.
“A lot is happening in the rider market, and there are some exciting options. So we’re still in talks, and we’ll review whether or not to strengthen our team further. But all that is taking place without any pressure because our core team is all set for 2014,” Denk concludes.
Netapp-Endura says goodbye to British veteran Russ Downing who signed with the new continental team NFTO. Roger Kluge moves on to IAM Cycling, while Markus Eichler and Alexander Wetterhall haven’t found new teams yet.
The Swedish rider was responsible for the first of Netapp-Endura’s ten victories in 2013. He won the Ronde van Drenthe and was joined on the podium by his teammates Markus Eichler and Andreas Schillinger.