With a stage win on last year's queen stage at the Tour of California, NetApp-Endura return to the American stage race with fond memories and the desire to repeat its success when the 2.HC race starts on May 11. The will have do without the services of 26-year-old Czech Leopold König who won the stage last year to Mount Diablo who misses the race due to injury which frees Tiago Machado to lead the team in its aspirations for a top ten finish.
"The knee problem that forced Leo to take a long break from racing in March and April appeared again after Trentino. That's why he couldn't race at Liège either. The full recovery of our young riders is always the most important thing for us. Therefore, we're not letting him race until he is completely free of pain," NetApp – Endura Team Manager Ralph Denk said of the team's decision.
"The fact that this is coinciding now with California is especially painful for us. With a stage finish slated for Mount Diablo once again, we were really motivated to repeat our success from last year at the same spot."
Machado, who spent several seasons with the RadioShack team racing in the WorldTour, recently finished sixth overall at the Giro del Trentino and Denk is confident his Portuguse rider will excel at the race
"In his current condition, Tiago is more than just a mere replacement for Leo. He's been riding incredibly well over the past four weeks, demonstrating his super form. He's traveling to California with top results in his bag, namely from the Critérium International and the Giro del Trentino," Denk said. "Tiago is highly motivated to score an even better result than his ninth place in the GC at the 2012 Tour of California."
With two climbing specialists, David de la Cruz and José Mendes, selected in the team, Machado will be well supported when the roads start to ascend while Zak Dempster, Scott Thwaites and Paul Voss add additional support on the flatter stages.
Team NetApp – Endura Tour of the Tour of California, May 11-18: Iker Camano, David de la Cruz, Zak Dempster, Tiago Machado, José Mendes, Andreas Schillinger, Scott Thwaites and Paul Voss.