Team NetApp-Endura target Grand Tour appearance
By Matt Westby. Last Updated: 09/01/13 9:37am
Team NetApp-Endura: Targeting a Grand Tour place
NetApp-Endura, the Pro Continental Tour team with four British riders on their roster, have revealed talks to secure a Grand Tour invite this season are "proceeding well".
The squad are preparing for their maiden campaign after being formed from a merger of British outfit Endura Racing and Germany's NetApp at the end of last year.
Although the team have a multinational collection of riders, there are still four Britons left over from the old Endura, with veteran Russell Downing being joined by neo-pros Erick Rowsell, Scott Thwaites and Jonathan McEvoy.
The previous incarnation of Team NetApp raced at last year's Giro d'Italia and the new outfit have already begun negotiations to secure another three-week stage race appearance in 2013.
They are understood to be one of nine teams to have applied for a wildcard invitation to this year's Giro, which takes place from May 4-26.
Team manager Ralph Denk said: "Our stated goal for 2013 is to compete in a Grand Tour.
"Our talks with all organisers are proceeding well and we are looking forward to the first decisions."
NetApp-Endura will start their season at the Tour de San Luis in Argentina at the end of January, before switching attention to the Middle East for the tours of Qatar and then Oman in February.
They also have one eye on the spring Classics, with the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad on February 23 being their first major one-day outing of the season.
Denk added: "The first months of the year are important for laying the foundations for the rest of the season.
"We were invited to all the races in January and February that we were hoping for. This represents a perfect start.
"The current races will enable us to prepare optimally [for a Grand Tour]."
There are three of four Giro wilcards left up for grabs after Italian team Androni Giocattoli claimed the first as a result of their strong performances last season.
As well as NetApp-Endura, the other teams to have lodged applications are: Bardiani Valvole - CSF Inox, Caja Rural, Colombia, Team Europcar, IAM Cycling, MTN - Qhubka, Team Novo Nordisk and Vini Fantini.