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“This Giro is the first time he is playing the captaincy role on the team, and we want to see if he can hold this kind of pressure. This is his big exam, and we are happy.”

Photo: Sirotti

GIRO D'ITALIA

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ILNUR ZAKARIN

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KATUSHA ALPECIN

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NEWS
28.05.2016 @ 12:25 Posted by Joseph Doherty

Despite having to abandon the Giro d’Italia with a broken collarbone, Katusha have said they are very happy with the progress shown by Ilnur Zakarin. They firmly believe he is the future and they will continue to build a team around the 26 year old Russian.

 

“This Giro is the first time he is playing the captaincy role on the team, and we want to see if he can hold this kind of pressure,” Katusha general manager Viatcheslav Ekimov told VeloNews. “This is his big exam, and so far, we are happy.”

 

Katusha have never really had a Russian star. They have had riders like Kolobnev, Menchov and Ivanov in their team, but those riders were mostly past the peaks of their powers. The team relies on Spaniard Joaquim Rodriguez and Norwegian Alexander Kristoff for top results, as well as Slovenian Simon Spilak. Now though, they are confident they have finally found their Russian star.

 

“He has his own character, and he has qualities to be a team captain,” Ekimov said. “He is a guy you can talk with, and he will listen to you, but he also has his own mind and vision. I like this, because he is not like a puppet.”

 

Ekimov has said that the team is trying to change the way it is perceived and is looking to attract more international sponsors.

 

“The future of team is very bright. We have switched to international professional team with commercial interest, so we are open to international sponsors. We are very busy on this,” he said. “We are working with a professional marketing team and designer, and they helped us with our new look.”

 

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