NetApp-Endura hopes for wildcard entry into Tour
Zak Dempster believes that NetApp-Endura won't be just making up the numbers at the Tour de France if they are awarded a wildcard entry into the race.
"If we were to get another Grand Tour this year, then we will be aiming really high," he told Cyclingnews from the team's training camp in Spain. "When we go to a race, we are there to race and not to get a tan. We’re not just going to a Grand Tour to ride around. I see no reason why, if we get an invite to a Grand Tour, that we couldn’t win a stage."
Last week, the Pro Continental team announced their intention of securing a spot at the Tour, after missing out in 2013. Last year ASO chose not to give them a wildcard, but with three French teams now in the WorldTour, it opens the doors for more foreign teams to take one of those elusive spots. "I’m trying not to think too much about the reasons why we may or may not get into a race," said Dempster.
"The things that I can affect are the results, not just mine, but the result of others. We’ve got to focus on going to races and working as a team and being up there from the word go. If we can do that, then I’m sure that will help us get a spot."
Dempster joined NetApp from the Continental Endura racing team when the two merged at the beginning of last season. He was one of the nine riders that made up German team's squad at the Vuelta a España, where he helped Leopold König towards a ninth place finish.
While he hopes to follow that with his debut at the Tour, the Australian has other priorities first. "It’s a dream for any rider,” he said of the Tour de France. “For me, the most important thing is to be one of the key people in the races that we’ve already been selected for."
The 26-year-old kick started his season with a win on the opening day of the Bay Classics and will begin his European season next month at the Tour of Qatar. From there, he hopes to gain a spot in the team for Tirreno-Adriatico. Last season, Dempster took top 10 placings at stages of the Tour Down Under and the Tour of California, but he is looking to make his mark on the Classics this time around.
“I would like get better result than last year,” said Dempster. "Last year was a good season for me, but if I was to get the same results as last year then I would be disappointed. I’d love to win a race. I won a race in Australia, but I’d love to win a UCI race. Also, I will be trying to get right up there in all of the races I do and I want to see how far I can go in the Classics."