Michael Matthews set to sign for Giant-Alpecin

Cyclingnews understands that Michael Matthews will ride for Giant-Alpecin in 2017. The Australian will head to the WorldTour team while John Degenkolb is likely to sign for Trek-Segafredo.

Although no contracts can officially be signed or ratified until the UCI’s official August 1 deadline, Cyclingnews has been told by sources that the Australian will leave his current team, Orica-GreenEdge, at the end of this year. Degenkolb has already been linked to Trek-Segafredo and is expected to take two or three teammates with him to the American team.

Both Giant-Alpecin and Orica-GreenEdge managements remained tight-lipped when contacted by Cyclingnews and both Matthews and Degenkolb are expected to ride the Tour de France for their respective teams this season. Cyclingnews also understands that Giant have been working on signing Matthews for some time, believing that he is a stronger long-term prospect.

Matthews, 25, moved to Orica-GreenEdge in 2013 and won two stages in that year’s Vuelta. He had another breakthrough in the 2014 Giro d’Italia, wearing the maglia rosa and winning a stage. In 2015 he won another stage in the race before finishing second at the World Championships in Richmond, Virginia. He is currently riding the Tour de Suisse, where he is looking to win stages ahead of the Tour de France.

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Orica-GreenEdge are in the middle of re-signing riders for next season. Sources have added that Matthews has not re-signed with them, however, and Adam and Simon Yates, Simon Gerrans and Caleb Ewan are also all out of contract for next season. The team confirmed earlier this week that Orica would leave the sport at the end of 2017 but this appears unrelated to Matthews’ departure.

Giant-Alpecin saw Marcel Kittel leave last season and have built a squad that competes for GC in stage races and sprints. Tom Dumoulin and Warren Barguil have become integral to their plans. They have since targeted Matthews as their marque signing for next year. The team would not comment regarding Matthews but added that they have had a long history with developing young riders and creating the right environment to achieve success.

At the same time Trek-Segafredo have been on the lookout for a Classics rider to replace Fabian Cancellara, who retires at the end of the season. They see Degenkolb as the ideal replacement in the Classics with the German a 2015 winner of Paris-Roubaix and Milan-San Remo.

The German rider suffered a serious injury over the winter when he and several other teammates were hit by a vehicle while training in Spain. Degenkolb almost lost a finger in the incident but has returned to fitness in the last few months. He has not won a race yet in 2016 but has a very strong possibility of riding the Tour de France in July.

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Daniel Benson

Daniel Benson was the Editor in Chief at Cyclingnews.com between 2008 and 2022. Based in the UK, he joined the Cyclingnews team in 2008 as the site's first UK-based Managing Editor. In that time, he reported on over a dozen editions of the Tour de France, several World Championships, the Tour Down Under, Spring Classics, and the London 2012 Olympic Games. With the help of the excellent editorial team, he ran the coverage on Cyclingnews and has interviewed leading figures in the sport including UCI Presidents and Tour de France winners.