John Degenkolb has insisted that his departure from Trek-Segafredo had nothing to do with his omission from their 2019 Tour de France squad.
The German had ridden six straight French Grand Tours since his debut in 2013 until he was left out this year, as the team took home four wins courtesy of Thomas De Gendt and Caleb Ewan.
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After three years at Trek, Degenkolb has signed with Lotto-Soudal for the 2020 season. What awaits him is not yet known, however, and he says he isn’t thinking about whether he will ride the Tour next year as the Belgian outfit start to make rough plans for the season ahead.
“It’s not like you’re looking for another team if you’re not taken to the Tour, which was definitely not the reason why I left the team,” Degenkolb told Radsport News.
“We had the first team meeting and talked roughly about the direction it will take – especially for the Classics – we want to take the team to a higher level and get more results than in the past.”
Although Lotto-Soudal are losing Tiesj Benoot to Sunweb, the signing of Degenkolb and 2019 Paris-Roubaix winner Philippe Gilbert will give them a great chance of taking home a number of big wins in the early season.
The duo will undoubtedly be a force to be reckoned with in the Classics, having won seven Monuments between them. Degenkolb says when they both knew they were heading to Lotto-Soudal they had time in races to start building a relationship.
“It was already clear during the Vuelta that we would both switch to Lotto-Soudal and we already had one or two opportunities to talk, we get along well,” Degenkolb said.
“There will be a lot of overlaps in the spring and we will be traveling together – even in winter, to create a certain microstructure in the team.”
Degenkolb’s schedule has not yet been set, although it is likely he will target at least one of the spring Classics, with Tim Wellens and Caleb Ewan further options alongside Gilbert, for the Belgian squad to turn to.