König to ride for WorldTour team in 2015

Czech rider on the hunt for stage wins at Tour of Britain

Leopold König will be riding in the WorldTour in 2015, the Czech rider has confirmed to Cyclingnews. König, who currently rides for NetApp-Endura, wouldn’t confirm who he had signed for but said that an announcement would be coming imminently.

“After the Tour of Britain, that means after the Vuelta, I hope that I can announce something more. Maybe Monday, I hope next week,” he told Cyclingnews ahead of stage 5 of the Tour of Britain.

König attracted the attention of a number of top teams in July, when he finished seventh at the Tour de France – his debut at the race.

The 26-year-old has long been touted as a future stage racing contender, and was one of the reasons NetApp was awarded a wildcard into the 2012 Giro d’Italia – a controversial appointment. In the end, illness would prevent him from riding the race and he would have to wait until the 2013 Vuelta a España to make his Grand Tour debut. König went on to finish ninth there, claiming a stage win in the process.

Since riding the Tour de France, König has been busy negotiating his future and illness at the USA Pro Cycling Challenge means that he is trying to regain his form at the Tour of Britain.

“I came to the race with a little bit unknown condition. After the Tour, I did the Tour of Colorado. I got sick the first day and racing sick at altitude is not the best way to prepare for the Tour of Britain,” he laughed. “I still feel that I’m in contention and I still feel like I’m getting better every day.”

With his preparation much less than ideal, König has been playing catch up during the race. A miss calculation on Wednesday’s stage into Bristol saw him lose time in the general classification.

König now sits eighth in the general classification, 29 seconds behind the race leader Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-QuickStep). The gap is made all the more difficult to close when you consider that he has several strong time triallists ahead of him in the standings. However, in a race that has seen the riders surprised by the harshness of some climbs, König believes that the time trial won’t be as key as many think.

“This year I believe it is one of the hardest editions of the Tour of Britain and hardest days are still to come,” König told Cyclingnews. “With the decisive stages still ahead of us, the race is still really open. I think stage seven will be more decisive than the time trial, because the time trial is really short.”

König still hopes he can get something in the remaining days of the race. “I still want to win a stage. The last time I was here I won a stage, although I was out of the GC. This year I am still in the GC and I’m still in the fight for a stage win,” he says adamantly.

“For sure, on the penultimate day I will try to take some seconds on the time trial days. I think it should suit me in the final.”

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