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Ilnur Zakarin will retire at end of 2022

The climber raised hopes of a Russian grand tour winner but he could never be consistent enough to challenge for the overall.

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Ilnur Zakarin, the rider once picked as a future grand tour winner, will end his career at the end of 2022.

“This will be the last season of my sports career,” Zakarin said. “Your support has always given me strength, which means that in 2022 I will give my best!”

The 32-year-old on Gazprom hit third in the 2017 Vuelta a España and won eight races since turning pro in 2012 with the now-shuttered Katusha.

Some hoped Zakarin, who could climb with the best on his best days, would emerge as a Russian contender for grand tour glory.

His inconsistency and deficiencies against the clock hampered his GC ambitions, but his attacking style and aggression always lit up any race he was in.

His last victory came with a Giro stage win in 2019, and he joined CCC in 2020 after Katusha folded at the end of the season. After CCC collapsed due to the pandemic, he signed on with second-tier Gazprom in 2021.

Zakarin, who lives on Cyprus, said he’s looking forward to spending more time with his family.

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