Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha) pumped his firsts in the air over his assumed victory at the finish of stage 2 at the Tour of Romandie, and even completed all the post-race pleasantries, before officials told him that he was relegated to second place, behind Nairo Quintana (Movistar), for irregular sprinting.
“Of course I am sad and disappointed with this decision,” Zakarin said in a team press release. “I think the decision was wrong. But all I can do now is just be better tomorrow. This situation makes me mad and gives me motivation for tomorrow’s stage – I think I can do a good ITT. I hope tomorrow I can answer what has happened today with the bike.”
Quintana was the first to attack the pack of favourites on the final climb with around 6.5 kilometres to the finish in Morgins. Zakarin was the only rider who could bridge up to the Colombian, and the pair raced to the top together.
Quintana started his sprint with 300 metres to go but Zakarin came back at the Colombian in the last 50 metres. Through the final bend, Zakarin drifted significantly to the right, which forced Quintana to sit up while Zakarin celebrated his victory.
A protest was quickly filed in regards to the movement from Zakarin and a jury decision modified the stage results, giving Quintana the stage win. He was also given the first-place time bonuses and now wears the yellow jersey, 18 seconds ahead of Zakarin.
“I completely disagree with the decision of the jury,” said director Dmitry Konyshev. “Ilnur did a small deviation which was nothing, maybe 10 cm. If he had done this movement slowly there would be no discussion, but he did it quickly and now there is talk.
“In our head and in front of everyone, we won this stage. As best we can understand from the jury’s decision is that they say ‘maybe’ Quintana could have won without the small maneuver from Zakarin.”
The Tour de Romandie will continue on Friday with a 15.11km individual time trial that has a climb mid-stage.