American Stephen Cozza will have a front-row seat to some of Europe’s most important races next season after NetApp secured a UCI Professional Continental license for the 2012 season.
The German-registered NetApp team will ride for a second season in cycling’s second division, with eyes on notching stronger results across Europe. NetApp was among 15 teams confirmed for Pro Conti status in a first wave of approvals confirmed by the UCI this week.
“(With) the early allocation of the license, our squad and our successes from this season now need to be converted into an ambitious race calendar,” team manager Ralph Denk said in a team release. “We are already in talks with all race organizers to position ourselves for invitations for the most important races.”
The squad — which is currently Germany’s only elite professional men’s team in the peloton — scored just one victory in the 2011 season, with a TT win at the modest Tour of Gallipoli (2.2) in Turkey in September. The team also posted 18 second and third-places across Europe this season.
Cozza, who struggled with health issues this season, will be back with the team for the 2012 season. So far, 16 riders are confirmed for next year. André Schulze, Reto Hollenstein, Grischa Janorschke and Blaz Jarc are among the new additions for 2012.
“The planning of the squad is nearly completed. All riders will meet first time in December for a ten day training camp,” Denk said. “We are entering the new season with great confidence.”
NetApp for 2012: Jan Barta, Jerome Baugnies (Topsport Vlaanderen), Cesare Benedetti, Steven Cozza, Andreas Dietziker, Markus Eichler (Team NSP), Reto Hollenstein (Vorarlberg), Bartosz Huzarski, Grischa Janorschke (Team Nutrixxion), Blaz Jarc (stagiare), Leopold König, Andreas Schillinger, Daniel Schorn, André Schulze (CCC), Michael Schwarzmann and Timon Seubert.