Team NetApp has received the final wildcard invitation to the 2012 Tour of Flanders. The German Professional Continental team impressed race organisers with their performance at last year's Paris-Roubaix.
“We're very excited. First, we were able to surprise our tour riders with the Giro d’Italia as the ultimate highlight of the season,” said team manager Ralph Denk. “Now comes an absolute classics highlight at one of the most famous races in the world.”
NetApp surprised many observers earlier this year by being awarded a wildcard invitation to the Giro.
“This news is extra motivation for the classics riders at the start of the season. Every classics rider’s heart beats faster just thinking about the narrow streets, the cobblestones and the difficult climbs. Of course, once again, it will be a huge challenge for us. But we’ll get the team ready just as we did last year for Roubaix,” Denk said.
“We had to choose among three teams for the last wildcard. NetApp was the team that convinced us,” said Nicolas Denys, managing director of the Tour of Flanders. “Their performance at Paris-Roubaix last year showed us that they enter a major race with an undaunted and aggressive spirit.
“This year, they’ve strengthened their classics squad considerably. They've signed a great Belgian talent, Jerome Baugnies, who already placed second at our U23 edition.”
The Tour of Flanders will be run on April 1 and includes 17 climbs over 255km. 25 teams will be at the start, with all 18 WorldTour teams and the following seven Professional Continental teams: NetApp, Topsport Vlaanderen, Accent.Jobs - Willems Veranda’s, Landbouwkrediet, Project It4i, Europcar and Farnese Vini.