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Tour de France

Zakarin to make Tour debut this July

Ilnur Zakarin, Joaquím Rodríguez, and Alexander Kristoff headline Katusha's 2016 Tour de France squad

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PARIS (AFP) — Russia’s Ilnur Zakarin is set to make his Tour de France debut next month, his Katusha team said on Tuesday.

Zakarin, who served a doping suspension from 2009 to 2011 after testing positive for a banned steroid, made a stunning breakthrough last year by winning the prestigious Tour de Romandie, beating Sky’s Chris Froome amongst a stellar field. He went on to win a stage at that year’s Giro.

The 26-year-old was sitting fifth overall in the 2016 Giro when he crashed out of the race with a broken shoulder in stage 19 last month. He has not raced since.

Zakarin will have former Tour podium finisher Joaquím Rodríguez for company on the climbing stages this July. The Spaniard won stage 12 at last year’s Tour, though his best result this season has been a fifth-place finish at the Vuelta al País Vasco (a race he won in 2015).

Alexander Kristoff will lead the Russian squad in the sprints. The Norwegian nabbed two sprint stages in 2014.

Katusha for the Tour de France

Jacopo Guarnieri (ITA)
Marco Haller (AUT)
Alexander Kristoff (NOR)
Alberto Losada (ESP)
Michael Morkov (DEN)
Joaquím Rodríguez (ESP)
Jurgen Van den Broeck (BEL)
Angel Vicioso (ESP)
Ilnur Zakarin (RUS)