The 27-year-old Russian suffered a mechanical in the late goings of the stage that forced him to take a teammate's bike. Disconnected from the peloton, he found himself furiously chasing just as the sprinters' teams were upping the pace as the race rolled toward the Tortolì finish. The whole Katusha-Alpecin went to work trying to drag their GC leader back, a challenging task with the gap at nearly 30 seconds with just five kilometres left to race.
A concerted effort brought the advantage down in the closing kilometres and all the hard work appeared to have paid off as Zakarin made contact with the back of the bunch in the final kilometre. Unfortunately for Zakarin, the high speeds of the mass gallop saw a gap open in the peloton in the finish. Caught on the wrong side of the split, Zakarin lost 20 seconds going over the line.
That gives him a bit of ground to make up on his GC rivals, though he'll have soon opportunities to claw back his 20-second deficit to the likes of Movistar's Nairo Quintana and Astana's Vincenzo Nibali as Mount Etna looms on Monday.
Zakarin has never finished inside the top 10 of a Grand Tour, but he showed off his potential in last year's edition of the Giro d'Italia. He was in contention for the overall podium well into the third week before crashing out of the race on stage 19.
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