Giant-Alpecin sign 25-year-old GC rider Wilco Kelderman for the 2017 season from LottoNL-Jumbo

With Marcel Kittel gone and John Degenkolb going, Giant-Alpecin are finalising their transition from sprint specialists to general classification contenders with the signing of Dutch rider Wilco Kelderman.

The 25-year-old LottoNL-Jumbo rider will join German team, which becomes Sunweb-Giant in 2017, adding his name to the list of young talent assembled in the squad.

The team say Kelderman, who finished seventh in the 2014 Giro d’Italia, will have a chance to lead a team in a Grand Tour – most likely the Giro – as well as playing a key role in the week-long WorldTour stage races throughout the season.

“I am very pleased to join Giant-Alpecin, taking the next step in my career,” Kelderman said. “The team allows me to grow towards a role as a leader for the Grand Tours, using a gradual approach.

“They are successful with their philosophy, with an emphasis on science and technology, like the focus on being experts in time trial performance, for example. I can learn from the experience they have, as well as from guys like Tom [Dumoulin] and Michael [Matthews], who are from the same generation and having paved the road for me.”

With Kelderman, Dumoulin and Warren Barguil in the squad, Giant-Alpecin will have three Grand Tour contenders aged 26 and under, all with a Grand Tour top 10 finish under their belts.

Giant have also signed Australian sprinter and week-long stage race contender Michael Matthews, who held the Paris-Nice yellow jersey for five days in 2016 and won stage 10 of the Tour de France.