NetApp Endura have received an invite to the Tour de France, completing a remarkable journey from winning the team based Tour Series for the British contingent of the squad.

Formed in 2009, Endura Racing were a mainstay of the Series from its inception in 2009 through to 2012 when the Scottish team dominated, winning seven rounds as a team on their way to the title. During that campaign there braces of individual wins for Zak Dempster and Scott Thwaites, who both remain with the team in 2014.

Above – Endura Racing celebrate taking the 2012 title at the final round in Stoke-on-Trent

Then at the end of 2012 Endura Racing stepped up to the ProContinental level by virtue of their merger with the German NetApp squad, taking a handful of British riders with them including the likes of Thwaites and Johnny McEvoy.

The NetApp team too were no strangers to British fans, taking part in The Tour of Britain in 2011 and 2012, impressing through high overall placings for Leopold Koenig and Jan Barta in the first year, before Koenig took victory in Caerphilly a year later (pictured below).  The team then raced last September as NetApp Endura.

“A dream comes true. We have worked towards this news since the first day of the team’s founding. That our wish has now become reality is overwhelming, and will put the whole team into a euphoric mood. We could not have hoped for better news shortly before our season opening,” reported Ralph Denk, Team Manager of Team NetApp – Endura.

“My thanks go to the ASO. We will certainly reciprocate the great trust that is being put in us with this invitation with a very committed appearance. I would also like to thank our sponsors and partners who have supported us on this path. The Tour de France is one of the largest sports events in the World and I am pleased to be able to offer them this opportunity,” Denk concluded.

NetApp Endura have already participated in both the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a Espana, but now take on the challenge of the world’s biggest race, starting here in the UK at Leeds.

Remaining from the days of domination on the British domestic are a trio of Brits in Thwaites, McEvoy and Erick Rowsell, plus Australian Dempster.

The team also boast last year’s Caerphilly stage winner Sam Bennett, who joined the squad in the winter.

Commenting on the invitation, Jim McFarlane, Managing Director of Endura, who will also provide kit to Movistar in 2014 said;  “It is also the pinnacle of a journey that started for Endura back in 2009 when the Endura Racing team was first launched with amateur riders competing domestically. Back then we would never have dared imagine that we would have kit on one team in the Tour, so having two teams wearing Endura this year is special for us.”

Among the other wildcard invites for the Tour de France was IAM Cycling. You can read an interview with IAM owner Michel Thetaz talking about his plans for the team here.

SweetSpot would like to wish both IAM and NetApp Endura the best of luck for their Tour de France debut.

Below – Endura Racing lining up ahead of a Tour Series round in the inaugural season of 2009.