John Degenkolb — the German sprint phenomenon — will join Skil-Shimano as part of a two-year contract with the Dutch team. The 22-year-old has claimed six victories in his rookie season and looks to be a star in the making.
Skil-Shimano has tapped several young German riders, including Marcel Kittel and Patrick Gretsch, and plans to fill a void left in the Europan peloton left without a major German sponsor.
“His signing underlines our ambition and reinforces our intention to represent Skil-Shimano in the biggest and most important races,” said Skil-Shimano general manager Iwan Spekenbrink in a team release Wednesday. “We believe that a cyclist like John has the potential of becoming a future green jersey winner.”
Degenkolb said he will be able to develop his sprint and classics skills in the move from HTC-Highroad, which is closing shop at the end of the 2011 season after it could not find a new sponsor.
“This is a great opportunity for me,” Degenkolb said in the team release. “I may have been part of the best team in the world, but with my new team I will probably have even more chances and with the choice of this project, I’m convinced that I can prove myself on the highest level next year.
“In the classics I will have an open role that really suits me. My new team is also building a strong sprint train so that I can compete in mass sprints as well. Marcel Kittel and I are both quick, complement each other and we can also get along with each other really well.”