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
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German team "euphoric" with wild card bid
The NetApp-Endura team was announced as one of four wild card teams invited by the Amaury Sport Organisation to race in this year's Tour de France today, and the team called the news "a dream come true".
The German team will be the first from that country in the sport's biggest stage race since 2010, when Milram was in its final year as a team.
"A dream comes true," team manager Ralph Denkn said of the invitation for NetApp. "We have worked towards this news since the first day of the team's founding. That our wish has now become reality is overwhelming, and will put the whole team into a euphoric mood. We could not have hoped for better news shortly before our season opening."
NetApp had a successful Vuelta a España in 2013, winning a mountain stage with Leopold König, who also placed ninth overall. König also won a stage of Tour of California. The team made its Grand Tour debut in the Giro d'Italia in 2012, and has a history of aggressive racing in these major events.
"My thanks go to the ASO. We will certainly reciprocate the great trust that is being put in us with this invitation with a very committed appearance," Denk said. "It is a great advantage for us that we have already been informed about the decision now. We can thus gear the entire first half of the season towards this big event and start in Leeds in top form with the best riders.
"I would also like to thank our sponsors and partners who have supported us on this path. The Tour de France is one of the largest sports events in the World and I am pleased to be able to offer them this opportunity," Denk concluded.
The team was also invited four other WorldTour races: Milan-Sanremo, Tirreno-Adriatico, Critérium du Dauphiné in the first half of the season and Il Lombardia in the fall.
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