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"In Jan Barta we certainly have someone who can finish the tour in the first ten, and the team will be supporting him in the next few days so that he doesn't lose any time before the time trial. Then we just have to hope...

Photo: Roth / Team NetApp

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01.04.2014 @ 13:47 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Team NetApp-Endura had a disastrous Gent-Wevelgem that saw most of their riders crash out of the race and so they will only field 6 riders in the Three Days of De Panne which starts today. With Jan Barta on the roster, however, the team has one of the favourites to take the win.

 

Classified in the Hors Catégorie by the UCI, cycling’s international federation, the 531-kilometer “Three Days of De Panne” is one of the most important cycle races in the calendar. Nevertheless, this short tour, which takes place between De Panne, Zottegem and Koksijde, is usually overshadowed by the Tour of Flanders, which is held just a few days later. Not so for Team NetApp-Endura. The team headed by Jan Barta is aiming to gain confidence from some good performances.

 

“Of course, as always, we want to ride as well as possible and preferably win," sports director Enrico Poitschke said. "At least we will do our best to achieve that. 

 

"In Jan Barta we certainly have someone who can finish the tour in the first ten, and the team will be supporting him in the next few days so that he doesn't lose any time before the time trial. Then we just have to hope he has a good day. 

 

"Of course our plan will not be easy to put into practice with an ad-hoc team reduced to six riders as a result of crashes, but the guys will do their best. Along with Jan Barta, we also have quite a good line-up for the sprint finishes. We will try to get among the top finishers here."

 

The hardest section of the short tour in terms of profile is right at the start. The riders will face thirteen hills and three sprint classifications in Tuesday’s 201-kilometer stage between De Panne and Zottegem. 

 

This is followed the next day by the tour’s longest stage over 206 kilometers. This takes them from Zottegem in East Flanders back to Koksijde on the coast of West Flanders. The final day is split in two. In the morning there is a 110-kilometer stage, starting and finishing in De Panne. In the afternoon a final 14-kilometer time trial will decide the overall rankings in the “Three Days of De Panne”.

 

You can read our preview of the race here and follow our live coverage at 14.25 CEST on CyclingQuotes.com/live.

 

NetApp-Endura roster:

Jan Barta, Blaz Jarc, Scott Thwaites, Andreas Schillinger, Ralf Matzka, and Zak Dempster

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