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The 2015 Milan-San Remo and Paris-Roubaix champion John Degenkolb has confirmed a move from Giant-Alpecin to Trek-Segafredo for next season, and said that he believes he can step up a level with the American squad.
“I see this as a natural progression in my career. I hope to repeat my performance of 2015, and why not be even better in my new kit in 2017?” he said on Friday, aiming high.
“I believe what I showed in 2015 was not my maximum potential and that I can develop even more, and I am convinced that the performance staff of Trek-Segafredo can help with that. I am also excited to come aboard Trek-Segafredo with Koen; I started racing with him in 2012, and we understand each other very well.”
The German is referring to Koen de Kort, who will also move across to the squad next season. The Dutchman has been an important leadout man for on Giant-Alpecin, and will play the same role with Trek-Segafredo.
Degenkolb had a tough season this year, losing out on his goal of chasing more Classic success when he and five teammates were hit by a car while training in Calpe in January. He almost lost a finger and was out of competition until May.
Since then he has ridden solidly, including fourth on two stages of the Tour de France and second on the first two days of this week’s Arctic Race of Norway. He is still to land his first win since his accident, and will hope that his new start gets things moving well again.
The 27 year old has inked a three year contact, running until the end of 2019.
“I’m incredibly excited about this transfer. It’s a big step for me to get such a great opportunity in a team like Trek-Segafredo, with such a strong Classics inspiration. It’s a dream come true,” he said.
“My previous team [Giant-Alpecin] was very committed to my ambitions in the Classics as well, but coming to Trek-Segafredo feels like the next big step for me. This team is one of the few really big teams in races like the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix, and this was a big motivation for me to join.”
He named bike technology and other equipment plus future teammates such as Jasper Stuyven being big pluses.
“Jasper is a really great rider, and I believe he can be the key to the team’s success. His value for the team is huge, but he is a guy that will also have chances for himself.”
In addition to his Milan-San Remo and Paris-Roubaix successes, Degenkolb has also won Gent-Wevelgem, Paris-Bourges, Paris-Tours, the Vattenfall Cyclassics and notched up stage wins in the Vuelta a España, the Giro d’Italia, Critérium du Dauphiné and Paris-Nice.
De Kort is 33 years of age and has signed a two year contract. He is a past winner of the under 23 Paris-Roubaix and a stage winner in the 2005 Tour de l’Avenir, but has built a career as a leadout rider.
He has been particularly helpful to Degenkolb and previous teammate Marcel Kittel, helping both of them to numerous successes.
“I am hugely excited,” he said. “Trek-Segafredo is a big, strong team with a beautiful image and a number of really strong riders. I like the way this team races, in particular at the Classics when Fabian Cancellara was the team leader. With John and Jasper (Stuyven) as our target men, I hope that we can continue to race with inspiration.
“I am really looking forward to this new challenge and working for the team goals, not only in the Spring races but throughout the season.”
Degenkolb’s signing will help fill the gap left by the departing Fabian Cancellara, who is another past winner of Paris-Roubaix and was the team’s main Classics rider.
General manager Luca Guercilena hailed the signing of the two riders, saying they were a strong fit to the squad.
“John is a champion, and we are honoured to welcome him to our team,” he said. “I have no doubt this is a perfect match between a hardworking, talented young man and our structure.”
He said that de Kort has ‘exemplary’ commitment to working for Degenkolb.
“Both John and Koen represent this team and its core values around teamwork, multi-national camaraderie and a warm connection with our fans and sponsors very well.”