Team NetApp-Endura's wildcard invitation to the Criterium du Dauphine is not only its third WorldTour race for 2013 but also its third wildcard from the ASO. That gives team manager Ralph Denk thoughts of a possible wildcard for this year's Tour de France.
“We are aware that the invitation to the Dauphine means something. Traditionally wildcard teams who ride Paris-Nice or the Dauphine, can have hopes of the Tour,” he told Cyclingnews. “But it would be presumptuous to read more into this invitation. First of all, we will concentrate on a good and successful start in the season and the rest will fall into place.”
The team has opened it season at the Tour de San Luis, and will next tackle the Tour of Qatar and the Tour of Oman, to both of which it received a wildcard invitation from Tour de France organizer ASO. The other two WorldTour races on its calendar so far are Tirenno-Adriatico and Il Lombardia.
NetApp rode the Giro d'Italia last year, but was passed by for an invitation in 2013. One of its goals is to ride another Grand Tour this season.
“We are an established ProContinental team, which has a new generation of riders at the start. We want to ride a Grand Tour again this season with these young and clean riders,” Denk said. “We have experience in the Grand Tours and have proved that we don't just ride along in a three-week race, but can also help shape it.
“With Tirreno-Adriatico in the spring, the Dauphine in the summer and important stage races in between, we are optimally prepared for a participation in a Grand Tour this year.”