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. "With Konig it would certainly have been easier to get a wildcard, but we have convinced this year as a team. We were always represented in the breakaways and have brought with Jan Barta third place in the TT," 

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BJÖRN THURAU

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BORA-HANSGROHE

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DOMINIK NERZ

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TOUR DE FRANCE

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26.10.2014 @ 13:41 Posted by Joseph Doherty

The aim of the Germans who will run Team Bora-Argon18 is to gain entry to the 2015 Tour de France. After the successful debut this year, team manager Ralph Denk is hoping for a wild card entry to the world’s biggest race once again.

 

But not only that - the man from Raubling trusts his new captain Dominik Nerz to achieve a top position in the overall standings. "Dominik has what it takes to finish among the top ten", Denk said in an interview with radsport-news.com. In the past season, he managed this feat with Leopold Konig, who finished seventh in his first Tour start. But the Czech will continue to go for the GC with Team Sky in 2015, which left Denk looking for a new leader. 

 

"We wanted to replace Leo as well as possible while Dominik Nerz was our preferred candidate. He results in the grand tours are not the top results Leo has, but this is not surprising, because he had to do mainly helper services for his captains at Cannondale and BMC," said the team manager who does not believe that his new captain will require a long period of acclimatization. "I consider him, as with a view of the one-day races, even in principle, a more complete rider than Leo, who could attract attention only in the last Tour of Lombardy." 

 

The 26-year-old Konig is not the only outlet that needs to be compensated. With the Portuguese rider Tiago Machado (to Katusha) and Spaniard David de la Cruz (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) leaving, the team is down two more Grand Tour specialists. They should be replaced by two young German riders, the 21-year-old German Emanuel Buchmann (Rad-Net Rose), and Björn Thurau (Europcar). While Buchmann is considered potential for the future, thinking looks to the son of Dietrich Thurau for the final breakthrough. 

 

"Björn is with us to get his freedom, if the form is correct. He has a great motor and I like his mentality. He is always good for an attack, and if he still learns to ride a little smarter, then it will also work with the results," said Denk.

 

Denk would also have liked to see Silvio Herklotz in his team, but the 20-year-old Berliner "has had an offer from us, but he chose to stay with his old team. This bodes well for him." says Denk. "But we are more interested in him because he is one of the most talented riders in Germany. For Silvio, the door remains open for us. "

 

His chances at one-day races are with Christoph Pfingsten, who arrives from Dutch team De Rijke after leaving Germany and he will prove useful, especially at the Belgian races. "He is great because of his cross-experience on narrow, winding routes" said Denk. In the grounds you will no longer see the German Cross-champion of 2012, however, until further notice, as his new boss announced. "Christoph is completely focused on the road and not ride cross next year, that was our condition when we signed him." 

 

Of the three interns this year, only the Austrian Patrick Conrad received a professional contract, but also his compatriot Gregor Muhlberger offers team-Bora Argon18 a long-term perspective. "We were super happy with it, but Gregor is still very young and gave him a rather thin racing program, which is why we have decided together that he wont switch to us in 2015. We have signed a sponsorship contract with him and he will still take at least a year in a Continental team," says Denk, who made the same deal with young German Alexander Krieger, the third intern. "He has shown good moments, but he had bad luck with illness during his time with us. We will continue to watch him.”

 

Nor are the plans for the coming season in the early stage, but the team management is hoping for a similar race program early as this year. "Of course we are relying on wild cards next year. We would again like to ride the Mallorca challenge as well as the Tours of Qatar and Oman," Denk said, recalling the first few weeks of 2014. "As far as the Tour de France, it's a little too early for a prognosis, because it is in the coming weeks we will be talking with the ASO," said the 40-year-old, who was, on 22 October, at official presentation in Paris. 

 

Even without the previous captain of this year's edition in the squad, Denk appreciates his side's chances of a second tour participation are optimistic. "With Konig it would certainly have been easier to get a wildcard, but we have convinced this year as a team. We were always represented in the breakaways and have brought with Jan Barta third place in the TT," he said.

 

Although in this case the Tour ticket would be automatically accepted, a premature rise to the World Tour is something Denk is not interested in, even if the cycling's world governing body has yet to grant a license for the first teams. "We would have to commit five, even six, more riders. But we do not want to be too big too soon, but step-by-step we will get there. In addition, we have agreed with our sponsors on a budget for 2015 and I do not want to renegotiate now," saying that he has set a team meeting in Raubling for early November, to which all eight new additions will appear. 

 

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