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Degenkolb downplayed any potential conflicts with franchise sprinter Caleb Ewan, who won three stages during this year’s Tour, or with classics superstar Gilbert.
“I also look forward to working with Caleb Ewan, who will undoubtedly be our number-one sprinter for his specific goals,” Degenkolb said. “But with my experience, I can provide added value for him and for Lotto Soudal … 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.”
A winner of Milan-San Remo and Paris-Roubaix in 2015, the German ace fought through a drought to claim a break-through Tour de France stage victory in 2018. Degenkolb, who was left Trek-Segafredo‘s 2019 Tour roster that brought support for GC rider Richie Porte, will race the Vuelta a España.
“The talks with Lotto Soudal have revealed that there are many similarities between the team’s goals and mine,” he said. “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.”
Lotto-Soudal’s Marc Sergeant said Degenkolb’s arrival will bolster the team’s chances in the classics and the sprints, as well bring a stronger German presence for team partner, Soudal, which has a marketing interest in Germany.
“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,” Sergeant said. “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.”
The arrivals come as Tiesj Benoot moves to Sunweb for 2020, and world record hour-holder Victor Campenaerts joins Dimension Data (next year riding as NTT).