Team NetApp-Endura will ride the Tours of Qatar and Oman for the first time in 2013. The German Professional Continental team has received invitations to every race in January and February that it hoped for, and is still hoping to ride one of the grand tours again this year.
NetApp will open its season again at the Tour of San Luis in Argentina (January 20-27), as it did last year. Then it will take on the Tour of Qatar (February 3-8) and the Tour of Oman (February 11-16). “Both races, which are organized by Tour de France organizer ASO, are for the sprinters, the team noted. The team will then open the Belgian Classics season at the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad on February 23.
The ASO connection is important to the team, which hopes for its second invitation to a grand tour, after appearing in last year's Giro d'Italia. “We still face the biggest challenge,” said team manager Ralph Denk. “We have announced our goal of wanting to ride a grand tour again in 2013. We have good discussions with all the organizers and look forward to the first decisions.”
Meanwhile, the team will use the early races as “an optimal preparation” for whatever may follow. “The first months of the year are important to set up the ground basis for the whole season. We have been invited to all the races in January and February that we wished for. That is a perfect opening.”
NetApp-Endura was formed by the merger of Team NetApp with Continental-ranked Team Endura Racing. The team goes with 21 riders, and will look to improve on the 11 wins which NetApp brought in over the 2012 season.