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"With Jan we have a former winner in our ranks and Sam [Bennett] showed his strong form at the sprints of recent weeks. In addition, we have two young German sprinters in the line-up with Ralf [Matzka] and Michael [Schwarzmann],"...

Photo: TNE/Roth






19.04.2014 @ 13:40 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

As the only German professional cycling team, Team NetApp-Endura carries a certain responsbility on their shoulders in Monday's first big German race, Rund um Köln. The team will field a roster that includes 2012 winner Jan Barta and new sprinting sensation Sam Bennett.


Team NetApp – Endura will travel to the cathedral city on Easter Monday with a strong team led by Jan Barta, who was able to win the “Rund um Köln” at his last appearance in 2012. The cycling classic is one of the most traditional German one-day races. The race running over 193 kilometers through the Rhineland metropolis of Cologne and its surroundings took place for the first time in 1908 and is thus the oldest still existing German road race.


“We will be standing at the start with a strong team and are prepared for every racing situation – regardless of whether a group is formed or the decision falls in a mass sprint. With Jan we have a former winner in our ranks and Sam [Bennett] showed his strong form at the sprints of recent weeks. In addition, we have two young German sprinters in the line-up with Ralf [Matzka] and Michael [Schwarzmann]. Our classics specialists Andreas [Schillinger], Erick [Rowsell] and Frantisek [Padour] complete the team and are also in very good condition. Our goal is ambitious but I believe that there’s a spot on the podium with this team,” said André Schulze, who is leading Team NetApp – Endura as Sport Director in Cologne.


After “Rund um Köln” was shifted to May the previous year to see how it went and starting in 2015 will be set in June, the classic will be carried out one last time on its traditional date, on Easter Monday. The reason for the shift in date is that Easter often brings with it bad weather. This year, however, both riders and event organizers can sigh with relief. If we can believe the forecasts, the weather on Easter Monday will offer the perfect stage for the 98th edition of the German cycling monument.


Crucial for the race will be how the first 160 kilometers are ridden through the Bergisches Land. The tempo in this hilly section of the route often decides whether the sprinters can save themselves until the final round or whether the good climbers will decide the race among themselves. Accordingly Team NetApp – Endura will send a balanced team consisting both of rouleurs and of sprinters to Cologne.


Line-Up: Jan Barta, Sam Bennett, Ralf Matzka, Frantisek Padour, Erick Rowsell, Andreas Schillinger, Michael Schwarzmann



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