The German-based team will now lose its second German star, as sprinter Marcel Kittel joined Etixx-QuickStep this season. However, it can console itself with another top sprinter, as Michael Matthews will join the team from Orica-Bike Exchange, as Cyclingnews reported exclusively last month.
In a statement issued by the Fairly Group, which will take over his management next year, Degenkolb said "This has been a tough decision, but it has been a thorough and deliberate process to be sure we end up in the best possible situation."
Degenkolb, 27, turned pro with HTC-Highroad in 2011, moving to his current team the next year. His best season was 2015 when he won Milan-San Remo and Paris-Roubaix. He has won one stage at the Giro d’Italia and 10 stages at the Vuelta a Espana.
He thanked his team and teammates, saying, "it gives me much satisfaction to have won two Monuments wearing their jersey."
Degenkolb is considering offers from two teams, saying "My next contract will be about much more than just money. Besides the best team fit, it will also be about image rights, my protection as a sportsman and other details which have not historically been part of rider contract negotiations."
His new agent will be Caleb Fairly, a former Giant-Alpecin teammate. He is part of the Fairly Group, owned by his father, and based in Texas.
Giant-Alpecin team principal Iwan Spekenbrink told the dpa news agency, "If John has decided to go, then that is ok – that’s life. We would liked to have kept him."