Team NetApp will take on the Amgen Tour of California without Steven Cozza. The American rider, who was signed especially for the race, is ill, but the German team still promises a strong team looking to make an impression at the race.
Cozza told Cyclingnews that he hasn't been feeling well all year, and only recently learned he has had a long-standing parasitic infection that led to a yeast infection in his small intestine which has affected his digestion.
"It is a huge disappointment for me and the team," Cozza said. "Apparently I have been carrying the parasite around for a long time and it caused something called candida albicans overgrowth. I'm on anti-parasitic medication now and am already starting to feel better."
Cozza said he will make a full recovery as soon as he kills off the yeast with a combination of low-carbohydrate diet and anti-fungal medication. He aims to get back to racing in June at the Tour of Norway and Ster ZLM Toer in Belgium.
"I'm very thankful that my team has give me its full support, and given me time to get 100% well before I put my body through the stress of training and racing.
"I'm looking forward to having a strong end to the season - I usually get stronger toward the end of the year, but this will give me extra motivation for July and August."
In light of the death of Wouter Weylandt, Cozza said his problems pale in comparison. "It really puts my situation into perspective. My heart goes out to his family."
NetApp roster for Tour of California announced
The NetApp team will do its first race outside of Europe at the Amgen Tour of California. The team will have a presentation before the race at the international headquarters of its sponsor, NetApp, in Silicon Valley.
“Our line-up is based specifically on the Tour of California’s mountainous profile. It calls for breakaway riders and classic overall classification riders,” said team manager Ralph Denk.. “We’re motivated and we’re flying to California with three goals: to make the race interesting with breakaway attempts, to claim the classification jersey for the most aggressive rider, and to get a good position in the overall classification.
“The Tour of California is a milestone for the young team. On the one hand, the team is taking this opportunity to present itself for the first time to the employees and cycling enthusiasts at the headquarters of NetApp,” Denk said.
“On the other, the high-profile tour is an enormous athletic challenge for us. But it’s exactly with this task that we intend to develop further as a team.”
The German Professional Continental team will have Bartosz Huzarski, Jesus del Nero, Andreas Dietziker, and Leopold König going for the overall classification. Jan Barta, Alexander Gottfried, Andreas Schillinger and Timon Seubert will look to be in breakaways and contend for the most aggressive rider jersey.