Katusha-Alpecin confirm Zakarin as leader for 2017 Giro d'Italia

Katusha-Alpecin has confirmed its nine-rider team for the 100th edition of the Giro d'Italia with Russian Ilnur Zakarin leadings its general classification ambitions.

Zakarin made his debut at the Giro in 2015, winning a wet stage into Imola, after his breakout Tour de Romandie victory. He finished 44th that year and on his second attempt at the Corsa Rosa he was poised for a top-five result until he crashed out of the race on stage 19 to Risoul. He rebounded from that disappointment to win a stage on his Tour de France debut, forgoing GC aspirations.

While Zakarin is yet to claim a win in 2017, he has showed his continued progress as a GC rider with second place at Abu Dhabi Tour, sixth in Paris-Nice and then 15th at Tour de Romandie. The 27-year-old can count a team built around his aspirations at the Giro with the experienced duo of Robert Kišerlovski and Angel Vicioso likely to be key in the high mountains.

Having made his Grand Tour debut at the Vuelta a Espana last year, Matvey Mamykin makes his first appearance at the Giro and will also be on hand for Zakarin for when the roads head uphill. José Gonçalves and Alberto Losada are two further riders who will start the race as domestiques as Katusha-Alpecin goes into the race in support of Zakarin.

The team is rounded out by Russian Maxim Belkov who enjoyed a stage win at the Giro in 2013. The 32-year-old can hunt stage wins via breakaways but will also be utilised as another rider in support of Zakarin.

Katusha-Alpecin for the 100th Giro d'Italia: Ilnur Zakarin (Rus), Maxim Belkov (Rus), José Gonçalves (Por), Robert Kišerlovski (Cro), Pavel Kochetkov (Rus), Viacheslav Kuznetsov (Rus), Alberto Losada (Esp), Matvey Mamykin (Rus), and Angel Vicioso (Esp).

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