Trek-Segafredo announced today that the US WorldTour team has signed Giant-Alpecin riders John Degenkolb and Koen de Kort. Degenkolb signed through 2019, while De Kort signed a two-year deal through 2018.
Degenkolb won Milan-San Remo and Paris-Roubaix in 2015 but had his 2016 season knocked off track when he and six teammates were struck by a wrong-way vehicle while on a pre-season training ride in Spain. Degenkolb returned to racing in time for the Tour of California and the Tour de France, but he has yet to claim a win this season. He is currently racing at the Arctic Tour of Norway, where he finished second by photo finishes in stage 1 and 2.
"I’m incredibly excited about this transfer," degenkolb said in a statement released with the team's announcement. "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. 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."
Degenkolb, 27, has gathered a palmares that includes, along with Paris-Roubaix and Milan-Sanremo, Gent-Wevelgem, Paris-Bourges, Paris-Tours, the Vattenfall Cyclassics and numerous stages at the Vuelta a España, the Giro d’Italia, Critérium du Dauphiné and Paris-Nice.
The German Classics man and sprinter said he was excited to race with Trek riders like Jasper Stuyven, the 24-year-old Belgian who won Kuurne-Brusselles-Kuurne this year.
"The staff and the core of riders for the Classics are really good, particularly Jasper Stuyven," Degenkolb said. "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."
Degenkolb also said he sees the move to Trek as a natural progression in his career.
“II hope to repeat my performance of 2015, and why not be even better in my new kit in 2017?" he said. "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."
De Kort, 33, won the U23 Paris-Roubaix (2004) and a stage at the Tour de l’Avenir (2005) before becoming one of the most valuable lead-out men in the pro peloton. He said he's excited to join the team and he likes the way Trek races.
"In particular at the Classics when Fabian Cancellara was the team leader," he said. "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."
Trek are expected to announce Alberto Contador for next season, and earlier today Colombian climber Jarlinson Panatan confirmed he was moving from IAM Cycling.