Team manager Ralph Denk says Bora-Argon 18 are ready to step up to the WorldTour next season as the Tour de France starts in Germany

German team Bora-Argon 18 is looking to join the ‘elite club’ of cycling by gaining a WorldTour licence in 2017 to coincide with the Tour de France Grand Depart in Dusseldorf.

The team, previously known as NetApp-Endura, have gained wildcards for the past two Tours de France and would likely win one again in 2017 with the Tour starting in its home country.

But team officials believe they are ready to step up to the biggest stage, having worked for five years to reach the highest level.

Team manager Ralph Denk said that Bora’s involvement ahead of the 2015 season would help the team on its way to being named in the WorldTour by 2017.

Now, Denk says attending the 2017 Tour as a WorldTour team would be his greatest success.

“We’ve been working for five years to our great goal,” Denk said in a press release. “We all have been in great races and in some we were successful. But now it’s time that we really become part of the ‘elite club’ of cycling.

“It would be my greatest personal success to be at the start of the Grand Départ in Düsseldorf with Bora-Argon 18 as WorldTour team. And I must say that I am very confident to achieve that, then we can celebrate it together with the German cycling.”

Germany already has one WorldTour team, in the shape of Giant-Alpecin, but a second would surely help rekindle the country’s love affair with cycling.

WorldTour licences for 2017 will not be announced until late this year, but with Oleg Tinkov planning to withdraw from the sport, there could be an opening for a new team to join.

Bora-Argon 18 is building its team around a core of young German talent, including national champion Emanuel Buchmann – the only neo-pro to race at the 2015 Tour de France – Silvio Herklotz and Gregor Mühlberger.

Five of the team’s wins in 2015 came through Irish sprinter Sam Bennett, who made his name by beating Andrea Guardini (Astana), Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) and Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) to win stage six of the Tour of Qatar in February.