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Lotto Soudal has announced that John Degenkolb will be joining the Belgian team next year. The 30-year-old German moves from Trek-Segafredo to Lotto Soudal and signed an agreement until the end of 2021. Degenkolb turned pro in 2011 and evolved into an top Classics rider, whose strong sprint is an extra trump card at the end of a tough race or on a technical finish. In 2015, he won both Milan-San Remo and Paris-Roubaix, which saw him add two Monuments to his palmares. Early 2016, Degenkolb had to miss the spring Classics due to a serious collision with a car where he nearly lost his finger. However, the German fought his way back to the top, claiming an emotional win at the Tour de France stage nine, which finished in Roubaix.
John Degenkolb said in a team press release, “The talks with Lotto Soudal have revealed that there are many similarities between the team’s goals and mine. It makes sense that a Belgian team with a long history in cycling wants to excel during the Classics. That will be the aim for the first part of the season. In addition, I’m not slow at the finish, especially after a tough race. Of course, I also look forward to working with Caleb Ewan, who will undoubtedly be our number-one sprinter for his specific goals. But with my experience, I can provide added value for him and for Lotto Soudal. The team is often active on two or three fronts, which increases the chance to obtain nice results.”
Degenkolb continued, “I am firmly convinced that I have reached the age to earn good results on the highest level and to keep performing during the most important races. I know the races, the courses and I have the physical capacities. I already look forward to preparing the 2020 season and to getting to know everybody. Me and Philippe Gilbert can make a complementary duo. We get along really well, I admire him as one of the best Classics riders and with his style of racing, opportunities will come along for all of us. The coming weeks, my goals are to be found in La Vuelta and the World Championships, where I want to conclude my three-year period at Trek-Segafredo as good as possible.”
Marc Sergeant, sports director at Lotto Soudal, said in the press release, “With John Degenkolb and Philippe Gilbert, we managed to add two great riders to our team. John is fast after a hard race, which makes a big difference if you go to the line with, for example twenty riders. I hope that we will get to see the best Degenkolb the coming years and I am convinced that he is capable of doing so. As a team, you need certain riders as a signboard, which usually has a good impact on the other guys. John has gathered a lot of experience and a big credibility inside the peloton. He indicated that he wants to recognize and try to take opportunities, we will for sure be able to define some nice objectives, he is flexible in terms of his race schedule and he definitely wants to commit himself to Caleb Ewan. The fact that we are able to get a German rider on board, is a nice bonus for our partner Soudal, for whom the German market is very important.”