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NetApp team earns Paris-Roubaix invite

The German Pro Continental squad NetApp earned a wild card invite to Paris-Roubaix, the race announced earlier this month. Team director Ralph Denk said the squad, which includes American Steven Cozza, was “euphoric” over the team’s first selection for a WorldTour event.

2011 Paris-Roubaix teams

  • AG2R La Mondiale
  • BMC Racing Team
  • Euskaltel-Euskadi
  • HTC-Highroad
  • Team Katusha
  • Liquigas-Cannondale
  • Team Trek-Leopard
  • Team Movistar
  • Omega Pharma-Lotto
  • Astana Pro Team
  • Quick Step Team Cycling
  • Rabobank Cycling Team
  • Saxo Bank Sungard
  • Sky Procycling
  • Team Garmin-Cervélo
  • Team RadioShack
  • Vacansoleil DCM-Pro Cycling Team
  • Cofidis, Credit line
  • Team Europcar
  • FDJ
  • Team Netapp
  • Skil-Shimano

“We’re going to be super motivated at the start,” he said. “But we’re very realistic about our position. At 250 km, the race is a tremendous challenge for our riders — it’ll be tough to make a decisive impression at the end. That’s why we’re determined to come forward early on and play a role in the first two-thirds of the race.”

The team has a former winner of the U23 edition of Paris-Roubaix (German veteran Eric Baumann, who won in 2000) and former winner of the junior edition (Swiss U23 champion Michael Baer, who won in 2005).

“The elite race is on another level,” Denk said. “That’s why it’s a plus for our racing preparations that we have team members like Enrico Poitschke, Jesus del Nero and Steven Cozza, who have ridden in the ‘Hell of the North’ in the last five years. Knowing the route is probably more important here than in any other race.”

Denk said likely starters for the team are Cozza, Baumann, Andreas Schillinger and Timon Seubert. Others will be selected closer to the event.

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