German team seeking first Grand Tour stage win
Team NetApp-Endura is looking to take its first Grand Tour stage win during its debut in the Vuelta a Espana. The German Professional Continental team received a wildcard invitation to the race.
The team is heavy on climbers, as befits a squad for a race with 13 mountain stages and 11 mountaintop finishes. NetApp-Endura will not have a designated leader but will as all the riders to be active along the way.
Climbers Leo König, Iker Camano, David de la Cruz, and Jose Mendes will be the team's men for mountains. All rounders are Jan Barta, Bartosz Huzarski, Daniel Schorn and Paul Voss, while Australian Zak Dempster will look for results in sprints.
The team's climbers recently reconned the mountain stages with Vuelta technical director Inigo Cuesta.
“The Vuelta is the clear highlight of our season. In line with this, our team comprises a selection of strong and experienced riders. It will only be our second Grand Tour and we are absolute outsiders – but for this very reason the boys are going into it highly motivated,” said team manager Ralph Denk.
“After having made it to the podium at the Giro twice, our aim now is to win a stage. I think we are well suited for the mountainous parts of the race and people ought to be watching out for us making a break on the hillier stages. We will keep a visible presence and participate actively.”
The team has had eight victories in 2013, only its third season at the Professional Continental level. Four of them came from Barta, who won the individual time trial and overall title at the Szlakiem Grodow Piastowskich, and both the Czech national road and time trial titles. König won not only a stage and the overall title at the Czech Cycling Tour, he also won the queen stage of the Tour of California.
NetApp made its Grand Tour debut last year at the Giro d'Italia, where Huzarski finished second in Assisi on the tenth stage, and Barta second on the 14th stage to Cervinia.