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"Otherwise the tour is a test run for Leo's role as captain with regard to the Tour de France. He will ride the Dauphiné as team captain and try to finish as high up the overall rankings as possible," Poitschke says

Photo: Unipublic / Graham Watson










05.06.2014 @ 11:55 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Team NetApp-Endura are preparing themselves for their debut Tour de France where the team will be led by Leopold König. Like many other GC contenders, the Czech will use the Criterium du Dauphiné as an important test.


Every year the Critérium du Dauphiné represents the warm-up for the Tour de France and is usually an initial indicator for the "Grand Boucle" which starts four weeks later. In this year's eight-stage race takes the riders will cover 1,176 kilometers from Lyon, via the Puy-de-Dôme, Ardèche and Switzerland, to Courchevel. For Team NetApp – Endura their second entry in the Dauphiné is already the seventh WorldTour start in 2014. Following their success in the Tour of Bavaria, with one stage win and two riders in the ten top of the overall rankings, the premium German cycling team travel to France with plenty of self-confidence.


"The Dauphiné is a very demanding tour and also relatively long at 1,200 kilometers. The initial time trial is a good opportunity for Jan [Barta] to score a good result at a very high level. He is in very good condition so I am optimistic. Otherwise the tour is a test run for Leo's role as captain with regard to the Tour de France. He will ride the Dauphiné as team captain and try to finish as high up the overall rankings as possible. However, we are not setting ourselves a target but trying to approach each day with as much concentration and motivation as possible," says Sport Director Enrico Poitschke, looking forward to the Critérium du Dauphiné.


The opening stage of the 66th Critérium du Dauphiné should already provide an initial insight into the riders' relative strengths, because this will take the form of a 10.6 kilometer time trial in Lyon. The second day will also offer the top riders no opportunity to hide, because the158.5 kilometer stage ends with a final climb on the 13.6 kilometer Col du Béal, with an average gradient of 6.6 %. The two days following on from that could belong to the sprinters, but they also present good opportunities for the breakaway riders, In the fifth section there are all of six climbs to score on, and the stage also ends with a selective finale in La Mure. On Friday the thirteenth the sprinters get their last chance to excel before the tour ends with the dreaded final weekend in Switzerland and Savoy. In particular the penultimate stage is a beast, because on the way to the summit finish in Finhaut-Émosson, at a height of just under 2,000 meters, the riders also have to deal with the Col de la Forclaz, an "hors catégorie" climb. Even on the last day, however, the rankings could be turned upside down again by the 5.9 kilometer final climb on a gradient of 6.2 %.


NetApp-Endura for the Criterium du Dauphiné:

Jan Barta, Cesare Benedetti, Bartodz Huzarski, Leopold König, Ralf Matzka, Kilian Padour, Daniel Schorn and Scott Thwaites



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