Unknown Russian cyclist Ilnur Zakarin came ahead of Chris Roome in the Tour de Romandie who was placed third.
Ilnur Zakarin of the Katusha team won the overall classification of the Tour de Romandie even though he was forced to change bikes during his time trial effort. However with just seconds behind Tony Martin, who took the time trial stage, 25-year-old Zakarin managed to hold onto his race lead. Zakarin said he really did not expect to win this race, but was just hoping to be among the top top 5 of the Tour de Romandie.
This was the Swiss-based Tour de Romandie’s 6th runs and is a hot item on Swiss online casino sports pages. The Tour consists of 5 stages and is part of the UCI World Tour. Multiple winners include Jean Forestier from France and Chris Roome from the UK, who was also last year’s winner. Zakarin, who was putting in a top performance was leaving behind Froome and Thibaut Pinot, who ended up in fourth position.
Bike change a mistake
Most pro bikers particpated in the Tour de France to gain condition for the Tour de France, which will be heavily bet on in accordance with French gambling laws and which debuts 4th of July. For around 11 seconds there Simon Spilak was wondering why Zakarin seemed to have abandoned his bike. But in fact Zakarin was just looking for a replacement. He later admitted that the bike change was an error.
The Russian national explained that “At the top of the climb I had to slow my pace a little bit and not push so hard on the pedals to change the gear. But I pushed it too hard and the chain got stuck. But the mechanics did a perfect job and changed my bike very fast”. Zakarin’s teammate Spilak has twice finished second overall at the race and began the day in fourth place.
2-year ban for doping
This was the first time Zakarin, the 2013 time trial champion, was competing at the World Tour level. After changing teams from RusVelo to Katusha in 2014, and following a two-year ban for anabolic steroid use, he made an impressive debut to the World Tour season with 10th at the Tour de San Luis and ninth at the Vuelta al País Vasco, with Romandie his first overall victory at this level.
Zakarin said ‘During the race I did my best, especially yesterday and today in the time trial. I worked to get the best possible result but of course this is a big surprise for me to win here. I have not analyzed the results of today’s TT and I need to do that to understand what happened. All I know, I did full gas, 100%, and now I am really happy. I want to thank my team – all the guys, the management, sports directors and staff for their support and great help. My victory is a victory of the whole team”.
Martin held back by climb on cobblestones
Meanwhile Tony Martin, German time trial champion, from the team Etixx-QuickStep, came first in the 17.3 km final time trial on Sunday. This was Martin’s second win of the season. Spilak made it a Katusha one-two as he happened to jump from fourth to second in the overall standings, with an awesome ride to second on the stage.
Martin exclaimed “I am really happy about this victory. Today the time trial was completely in the rain, so it was a little bit of a disadvantage, especially on the climb with the cobblestones and a few tricky corners on the downhill. But I actually didn’t mind it. I think this is a nice victory for me, but also for the team”. Martin showed surprised that Zakarin clinched Tour de Romandie title.
Katusha trumps up at Tour de Romandie
Indeed, during the Tour de Romandie his team was always in the heat of things, even though those resulted in no victories. With this win at the end of this race came a boost to the team morale. Martin also cited Uran Rigo’s 5th place win in the GC and his performance enhancement for the Giro d’Italia.
Pinot, who was nominated best young rider, was the only-non Katusha classification winner. Otherwise points, mountain and overall team classification saw Katusha in excellent shape. So the the majority of the team from Romandie will be made up of Katusha’s Giro d’Italia roster too, before taking on Tour de France. Fans are putting their bets on internet gambling in France as they root for Katusha.