Retrospective on the Team's history from 2010 - 2014. 2014: The first Tour de France

Team News | 29.12.2014

From 2015 on, the team will take another step in its development. While the ambitious spirit remains, the team’s name will change with new naming partners on its side. It’s time to look back how our unique story, to bring amateurs to the Tour de France in only five years, started.


The 2014 season was to be a monumental one for the team, bringing its first Tour de France, which was more successful than anyone would have dared to dream, and also the announcement of a total change of sponsors for the future.

Newly-signed Irish sprinter Sam Bennett was an early season highlight, bringing in three wins -- the most by any rider this season – in the first half of the year. He put his stamp on the Clasica de Almeria, Rund um Köln and a stage at the Bayern Rundfahrt.

Another newcomer to the team was Tiago Machado, and the Portuguese climber also quickly proved his worth. After finishing second overall in the Vuelta a Murcia he went on to claim third in GC at the Criterium International. He capped it all off with the overall title at the Tour de Slovenia the end of June.

Once again the WorldTour race invitations poured in, but the one that arrived on January 28 was the most important one – a wildcard to the Tour de France. This was a goal the team had long worked towards and hoped for. “A dream comes true!”, said team manager Ralph Denk.

But there was still much racing to be done before the Grand Depart in July. The team could proudly point to top three finishes in a variety of races, and multiple top ten finishes overall in the early part of the year.

The team couldn’t repeat its success at the Ronde van Drenthe, but Scott Thwaites snagged second place. Jan Barta was second in the Driedaagse De Panne-Koksijde individual time trial, and the team finished in that same ranking in the Giro del Trentino team time trial.

Once again NetApp-Endura lit up the Tour of California. Machado climbed to a second place finish on Mt. Diablo, where Leo König had won the previous year.  But he was not the only strong rider on the squad, as David de la Cruz finished second in the race’s Queen Stage. In the end, Machado just missed out on the podium in fourth place, and de la Cruz was tenth.

There was some vital non-racing action as well. Both NetApp and Endura announced that they would not renew their sponsoring contracts. But the team was fortunate enough to announce a new sponsor, and a German one at that – BORA. The Canadian bike manufacturer Argon 18 was to be announced at the end of the season as new second name sponsor.

Leo König was the team captain at the Tour, supported by Jan Barta, David de la Cruz, Zak Dempster, Bartosz Huzarski, Tiago Machado, Jose Mendes, Andreas Schillinger and Paul Voss – all making their Tour debut.

Things really started happening once the climbing started. Machado shot up to third overall on the ninth stage, only to be thrown back by a nasty crash the next day.

Things being left open for König, and the Czech finished eighth on the tenth stage, before coming into his own in the Alps. He finished third on the first high mountain stage, the 13th, and moved up to tenth overall. He stayed strong and worked his way up to seventh – where he finished the tour. “A dream finish,” the team called it.

The season was far from over, though. Huzarski claimed seventh in the US Pro Challenge and Barta ninth in the Tour of Britain. Barta was also ninth in the Worlds time trial, with Machado close behind in 11th place.

It was the season that ultimately cemented the team’s place in the pro cycling peloton. They were no longer “that little German team” but a legitimate competitor on the international stage.

“I've been in the team since the very beginning and still remember the first meeting in November 2009. I've seen the team growing together and think I can say that in 2014 the team had its best potential. It's true that we only had a few wins but we were on the podium so many times. The team found in Sam Bennett a pure sprinter able to win big races and I think that Sam will still give us lots of satisfaction in the next seasons. Leo Koenig 7th place in the Tour was not only the cherry on the top of the cake in 2014 but probably in the past 4 years. In December a chapter of 5 years closes and the next one is ready to be written. I am glad I could be part of the team because we always felt special as we achieved things nobody ever thought we were capable of and I always felt well in this role. Now I am curious to where our way will lead us in the future and that I again will be part of it“, says Cesare Benedetti.

“It’s been a lot of hard work in the past five years. Our success came step by step which mirrors our responsible and long-term point of view to develop young riders. I am proud of the things we’ve achieved and look forward to my new task at BORA – Argon 18 with our new German sponsor”, says Ralph Denk.

“If asked which has been the most touching moment in the past five years for me I clearly can say it’s been the reception of the Tour de France wildcard, which brought us to the largest and most spectacular race in the world. That day, we reached our long-desired goal”, concludes Team Manager Ralph Denk this chapter.

Team NetApp - Endura 2014:
Jan Barta, Cesare Benedetti, Sam Bennett, Iker Camano, David De La Cruz, Zak Dempster, Bartosz Huzarski, Blaz Jarc, Patrick Konrad (Stagiaire), Leo König, Alexander Krieger (Stagiaire), Tiago Machado, Ralf Matzka, Jonathan McEvoy, Jose Mendes, Gregor Mühlberger (Stagiaire), Frantisek Padour, Erick Roswell, Andreas Schillinger, Daniel Schorn, Michael Schwarzmann, Scott Thwaites, and Paul Voss

Review 2010Click here

Review 2011Click here

Review 2012Click here

Review 2013Click here