Little German team NetApp is dreaming big. The Continental team is hoping to become a Professional Continental team in 2011, with ProTour status and a ride in the Tour de France the goal after that.
The team, which is only in its first year of existence, hopes to be in the Tour de France by 2012. “We will set forth our continuing structure and provide a solid financial backing, so that we can ride in every class,” said Andreas König, the European director for the US-based NetApp.
The team has said it would apply for a 2011 Professional Continental licence this summer. The team, led by former pro rider Jens Heppner and Enrico Poitschke, would have to increase from 14 to 18 riders, but the team doesn't want to aim too high. “A rider like Andre Greipel would not be in our calibre,” according to team manager Ralph Denk.
If Gerry van Gerwen is unable to find a new sponsor to take over from Milram, NetApp could become the top German team in 2011. “We could be the number one in Germany but I would be happy if Milram continues – that would be good for cycling here,” Denk said.
The NetApp team takes a strong stance against doping. “We have very hard contracts regarding that,” Denk said. “Our riders must provide DNA samples and their doctors will be released from the confidentiality requirements. Plus our riders will have the UCI's biological passport in the coming year.”