The highest-ranked German cycling team continues to put together a top-notch racing schedule for the upcoming season. The French racing organizer ASO has invited Team NetApp – Endura to race in Paris – Roubaix and Liège – Bastogne – Liège.
“Both wildcards are especially important for us. Roubaix is the most famous spring Classic race in France and starting there is a highlight on every rider’s palmarès. This year our selection will account for the fact that the Tour de France will cover some of the cobblestone sections,” said Ralph Denk, Team Manager of Team NetApp – Endura, commenting on the invitation.
This will be the fourth time that Team NetApp – Endura will compete in the “Queen of the Classics”. The 112th running of the Paris – Roubaix race will take place on April 13 and will cover 257 kilometers, 51 kilometers of which are on 28 different sections of cobblestone roads. Nine of these sections (15 kilometers) will also be part of the fifth stage of this year’s Tour de France, with the stage finishing close to the notorious Arenberg Forest.
“We will be celebrating our premiere in Liège. I am proud to have this race on our schedule for the first time. An entirely different kind of rider is needed in the Ardennes. Riders will have to tackle an elevation of 5,000 meters, which is geared more towards our climbing specialists. We have great respect for the race. So as not to demand too much from our young riders, we have decided to focus only on this one Classic race in the Ardennes,” Denk says, looking ahead.
Liège – Bastogne – Liège is the oldest and most demanding Classic race on the international cycling calendar. “The Oldest” will be celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. On 27 April the route will cover nearly 260 kilometers. Unlike the French cobblestone Classic, in the Ardennes the focus is on short, steep climbs. Both races are among the Five Monuments of Cycling. So far this season, Team NetApp – Endura has already received a wildcard to four of these races.
“We have a first-class Classic lineup this season. The team is already looking forward to hearing the decision about the Tour of Flanders. I am optimistic that our riders will be able to include all five Monuments on their schedule this year. The team is accordingly motivated in its preparations,” says Denk, who is confident about receiving another wildcard.