NetApp becomes seventh wildcard team for Ronde van Vlaanderen
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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

NetApp becomes seventh wildcard team for Ronde van Vlaanderen

by VeloNation Press at 8:29 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Spring Classics, Tour of Flanders
 
Team psyched by admission to WorldTour Classic

NetAppOne month after allocating six of the wildcard places for the race, the Ronde van Vlaanderen organisers have awarded a seventh berth to the German NetApp team.

The squad will join the eighteen ProTeams on April 1st, as well as Belgian Pro Continental squads Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator, Accent Jobs-Willems Verandas and Landbouwkrediet, the Dutch Project 1t4i setup, Italian-based Farnese Vini-Neri Sottoli and the French Europcar squad.

“We had to choose among three teams for the last wildcard,” explained Nicolas Denys, the race’s managing director. “NetApp was the team that convinced us. Their performance at Paris-Roubaix last year showed us that they enter a major race with an undaunted and aggressive spirit.

“This year, they’ve strengthened their Classics squad considerably. They signed on a great Belgian talent, Jerome Baugnies, who already placed second at our U23 edition.”

The team has already been granted a WildCard place in the Giro d’Italia and is psyched at the latest news. “We're very excited. First, we were able to surprise our tour riders with the Giro d’Italia as the ultimate highlight of the season. Now comes an absolute classics highlight at one of the most famous races in the world,” said team manager Ralph Denk.

“This news is extra motivation for the Classics riders at the start of the season. Every Classics rider’s heart beats faster just thinking about the narrow streets, the cobblestones and the difficult climbs. Of course, once again, it will be a huge challenge for us. But we’ll get the team ready just as we did last year for Roubaix.”

This year’s race will be disputed over a changed course, with the 255 kilometre distance being very different than before. The Ronde will climax with three finishing laps and conclude in Oudenaarde. The thinking behind the modification is to enable spectators to see the riders more times in the finale of the race, thus aiming to increase the spectacle.

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