‘Time to change’ – John Degenkolb on transfer to Lotto-Soudal

Degenkolb feels he still has more to give and relishes the opportunity to race with Philippe Gilbert in 'a real Belgian team.'

Photo: Getty Images

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LIUZHOU, China (VN) — John Degenkolb says that it is “time to change” from his Trek-Segafredo team. He joins Belgian team Lotto-Soudal for the 2020 season, which is just around the corner.

Degenkolb is finishing his last of three seasons with Trek-Segafredo at the Tour of Guangxi in South China.

“I think it was time to change and it was time to move on to try something new, try to squeeze more out of my potential, which is still there I believe,” Degenkolb told VeloNews.

“I’m more than happy that I get the belief from Lotto-Soudal to move on the next two years.”

The 30-year-old German won Milano-Sanremo and Paris-Roubaix before joining Trek-Segafredo. Over the last three years, one of his big wins was the 2018 Tour de France’s stage to Roubaix over the cobbles.

“I definitely hope to have success in the classics, have success in some of the sprints,” he continued. “The team, it’s building up something new for the future there and they definitely want to progress. And that’s a good sign. I’m looking forward to.”

Trek-Segafredo is bringing in Vincenzo Nibali for the grand tours and counts on Mads Pedersen, the new world champion, for the classics.

Lotto-Soudal boasts Caleb Ewan, who won his first three stages in the Tour de France this summer and new for 2020, Degenkolb and classics star Philippe Gilbert. Gilbert, winner of Paris-Roubaix this spring, is joining from Deceuninck-Quick-Step.

“It’s one of the oldest teams in cycling. As long as I remember watching, watching any races, there was always Lotto, so it’s also kind of an honor to be in one of these historical teams,” said Degenkolb.

“It will be for sure something different to race in a real Belgian team, even if most of the classic teams have like a Belgian atmosphere sometimes because you stay there a lot and you have a lot of staff members out of Belgium.

“It’s the combination of the riders, having Caleb for the fast bunch sprints and having another super-strong classic rider with Philippe Gilbert and with me. It’s like a shared responsibility and I think that’s something where we all three or like the whole team can benefit from it.”

Degenkolb closes his season with the final stage of the Tour of Guangxi Tuesday in Guilin. The popular Chinese city is known for its lake with the moon and son pagodas and its nearby mountains.

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