Giant-Alpecin boost GC hopes with Wilco Kelderman signing

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

Wilco Kelderman on stage six of the 2016 Tour de Suisse
(Image credit: Watson)

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.

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Stuart Clarke is a News Associates trained journalist who has worked for the likes of the British Olympic Associate, British Rowing and the England and Wales Cricket Board, and of course Cycling Weekly. His work at Cycling Weekly has focused upon professional racing, following the World Tour races and its characters.