Monday, July 24, 2017

In his first grand tour participation, Russian Ilnur Zakarin attacked on the final climb to claim a solo victory in Imola, bringing the 20th win to Team Katusha for the 2015 racing season. At 25, Zakarin showed maturity and strong race tactics as he rode away from his former breakaway companions to steadily gain time on the downhill run to the finish line on the Formula 1 race track, finally holding 53-seconds to his chasers. 

- I still can’t believe that I have won a stage of the Giro. I am so happy and excited! Maybe in few days I will realize I've earned a big victory. Today we had a plan to go in the breakaway, so we were very attentive in the beginning and I saw my chance and followed other attacks to go in the escape.  We worked well in the break, but I remembered my experience from a few days ago when I attacked too early. So I waited until the very best moment this time. Honestly in one moment I thought the peloton would catch us, but it did not happen. So I attacked when we passed Tre Monti for the third time and it worked well. I was able to get a good gap, but the last 10 km were very hard. But I did it!  I want to thank all of the team for their support and also Dmitry Konyshev who helped me a lot during the whole stage staying in the car behind me in the break, - said stage winner Ilnur Zakarin



- We knew it could be a good day for the breakaway so I asked the riders to be there. Ilnur did a very good attack and was able to go in the escape. He did a very smart race today and managed to put in the perfect attack at the right place and the right time. We wanted to win a stage with Ilnur because we knew he could do it and today was an ideal day for him and the team. We are all very happy, - said team director Dmitry Konyshev.


Zakarin was part of the long break that sped away on the constant rollers featured in Wednesday’s 153 km stage from Forlì to Imola. The course featured four laps of 15,3 km with the category-4 climb of Tre Monti featured each time. It was on the last time over the climb that Zakarin seized the moment to attack his group and not look back, picking his own lines on the wet roads and coming to the finish line on the race track with plenty of time to sit up and celebrate. It was the second win this season for Zakarin after his overall victory in the Tour of Romandie last month.

Zakarin was the Russian ITT champion in 2013 and a member of the Russian National Team. In 2014 he had strong results before moving up to the WorldTour Team Katusha this season, taking the GC in the Grand Prix of Adygeya, Tour d’Azerbaidjan and Grand Prix of Sochi all while he raced for the RusVelo pro-continental team. 


Second and third places on the stage went to Carlos Betancur (AG2R La Mondiale) and Franco Pellizotti of Androni Giocattoli.


There was no change on the general classification with Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) still at the top of the leader board by 3-seconds to Fabio Aru of Astana. Iurii Trofimov still is 15th, 3 minutes and 18 seconds behind the leader.


Stage 12 at 190 km on Thursday begins in Imola and ends in Vicenza on Monte Berico.  

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