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König: I can make top 10 at the Tour de France

Sadhbh O'Shea
January 19, 12:12,
January 19, 11:11
First Edition Cycling News, Sunday, January 19, 2014
Leopold Konig (Team NetApp-Endura) wins stage 8 of the Vuelta a Espana

Leopold Konig (Team NetApp-Endura) wins stage 8 of the Vuelta a Espana

  • Leopold Konig (Team NetApp-Endura) wins stage 8 of the Vuelta a Espana
  • Leopold König (NetApp-Endura) on the podium after winning stage 8 at the Vuelta a Espana, the Czech's first career Grand Tour stage victory
  • Leo König (NetApp-Endura) gets a hand after the dificult finale

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Czech rider believes NetApp-Endura can secure wildcard entry

Leopold König not only believes that his NetApp-Endura team will be awarded a wildcard entry into the Tour de France this year, but that he can better his Vuelta a España result too.

Last year's Vuelta was König's debut at a Grand Tour. He impressed with his ability to stick with the favourites until the final kilometres and finished ninth overall, 10 minutes down on the winner Chris Horner. The Czech rider also held off a charging Daniel Moreno, to take victory on stage 8.

“I don’t think it will be harder,” he told Cyclingnews, when asked if a repeat performance would be difficult. “I think I can improve on the GC result. I don’t see anything to say that we can’t do it again. I am confident about the top 10.”

This isn't the first time that NetApp-Endura have made a bid for a Tour de France wildcard. The did so last year, but missed out when the three available spots were handed to French squads. With the number of home teams looking for a place in La Grande Boucle down to two, König believes his team has a better chance at gaining entry. “I think there are some circumstances in our favour,” he said.

“Some teams have folded and there are now three French WorldTour teams, so that is something we can benefit from. I think we have done well. At the Vuelta the whole team showed that we are able to do those races and we can even make the race and make it interesting. That is really important.”

While stating that the Tour de France parcours is not as challenging as the one he faced in the 2013 Vuelta, the Czech rider believes that the opening stages will be hard. “I did the Tour of Britain and it’s a special area to race. It will be a really big challenge with the small roads.” he explained to Cyclingnews. For him, though, the excitement lies in the time trial from Bergerac.

“I am really confident about the long time trial on the second to last day. I think I can have an advantage over the pure climbers, because I have improved a lot in the time trial. It should suit me also.”

König's young career is one that has been affected by illness, but he has still managed to prove his doubtless capabilities. He missed out on an opportunity to ride the Giro d'Italia in 2012, due to being sick, but later went on to take victory in a stage of the Tour of Britain.

The 26-year-old beat Janier Acevedo and Tejay van Garderen on Mount Diablo, during the queen stage of last season's Tour of California. He was heading towards a top 10 finish at the Critérium du Dauphiné, but was forced out with illness on the final stage. Not to mention the performance at the Vuelta a España. Despite the unexpected interruptions to his season, König believes he is on the right track.

“Last season was my best one. I keep on improving, not only physically but mentally. A race like the Vuelta gives me a lot of confidence. I gained a lot of experience, about how to handle situations when you are not at your best or you are sick. The whole year was a real benefit to me and I just want to continue on my learning process.”

While the Tour de France wildcard is still up in the air, NetApp-Endura have already secured a number of invitations. König will begin his season in Mallorca, before flying out to the Tour of Oman. His first big goal of the season will be Tirreno-Adriatico. He missed out on the race last year, but again he is confident that he can battle it with the top riders and take yet another top 10 finish.

Calin Marian 7 months ago
Yeah right and Thibaut Pinot will win TDF.Get real Mr Konig,you still don't know if your team is invited to the TDF and you dream to a top10?
Jancouver 7 months ago
So he is confident about TOP 10, whats wrong with that? Konig may lose a minute on a big climb, Pinot will lose two minutes on the descent...
Anonymous 7 months ago
I have not heard whether the fat bald hating couch potato team you ride for has made it into the tour de fat backside but you can dream too if you want.
LeFabe 7 months ago
serisouly, there's so much hate on these forums, I really don't get it.
GuyIncognito 7 months ago
These aren't forums numbnuts. It's a comment section. Learn to name things before you post Is that it? Did I do it right?
Anonymous 7 months ago
seriouslyly, there's so much hate on these forums,
rastymick 7 months ago
He is a very good climber, not bad in TT, already has a top 10 in a GT (despite being sick for several days) and he is improving every year - what's so absurd about targeting a top 10 in the Tour? If he stays healthy avoids the crashes and is in similar shape than in last years Vuelta, it's very likely he makes the top 10.
ReCycled007 7 months ago
Perhaps you should wait until your team is invited before telling everyone how great the party is going to be. Why do professional cyclists publicly talk about how good they are, or how good they're going to be? Furthermore, why do reporters write columns about it?
Anonymous 7 months ago
Because it's called bicycle racing. If you hate it why do you read it?
ReCycled007 7 months ago
I don't understand where you got the "hate cycling" from.
Hullajelolt 7 months ago
So if you want your team to get invited to the race, you shouldn't state that you're a quality rider who could do something remarkable because it hurts your teams chances to make it? Hmmm...
Mirco Bertolani 7 months ago
nuvolablu 7 months ago
Nobody cares about top 10. Only podium matter He should target stage wins and/or polka dot jersey
Raoul Duke 7 months ago
Self-belief is good and even necessary, but not really news esp. as they have not even secured an invitation yet.
Dry Booger 7 months ago
oh comon, this is just storm in cup of water. This is just PR to get the wild card, nothing else. Good luck Leopold.
Manuel Schoel 7 months ago
I have huge respect for Königs achievements in last years Vuelta, but the 2014 TdF is something different. Nibali, Froome, Contador are definitely in front of him and than there are guys like Van Gaarderen, Kwiatkowski, Valverde, Kreuziger, Porte(?), Talanski, Mollema, ... And to be honest, I think with all those names König should be proud of himself to finish in the Top 20 - if they get a wildcard.
Tigerion 7 months ago
So you listed 10 riders who may be better than him. If he goes better than one of them then he gets his top 10, he certainly has the talent to pull it off if lady luck smiles on him. Kreuziger is likely to lose big on a stage when he needs to bury himself for Contador on a stage keeping it all together. The same could happen with Porte who will already have a giro in his legs Tejay had a horrible TDF last year and if he cracks as badly he will not top 10. Fingers crossed it doesn't happen but history says that another of the top 10 riders will get taken out by a crash. So top 10 is a difficult but achievable goal