Ilnur Zakarin will lead the Katusha-Alpecin team at the Tour de France, with Alex Dowsett, Rick Zabel, Mads Würtz Schmidt, Nils Politt, José Gonçalves, Jens Debusschere and Marco Haller also in an eclectic line-up that will target stage victories.
The Russian and German backed team has won just five races this season, including the recent British and Portuguese national time trial titles and their long-term future remains unclear. Marcel Kittel left the team in early May, with the German sprinter and the team agreeing to terminate their contract with immediate affect as Kittel reflected on his future in the sport.
The Haller, Dowsett and Zabel lead out train built for Kittel will now likely support Debusschere, with Dowsett and Gonçalves targeting the stage 13 time trial in Pau. It will be the British rider's second Tour de France. He made his debut in 2015 but failed to finish on stage 12.
Politt finished second in this year's Paris-Roubaix and will no doubt join breakaways on rolling stages in pursuit of a stage victory.
The USA's Ian Boswell is still making a gradual comeback to training after suffering concussion in a crash at Tirreno-Adriatico. He recently told Bendbulletin.com that he may return to Europe in late July to begin racing again in August.
Zakarin won the mountain stage at the Giro d'Italia to Lago Serru but slipped from a promising third place overall due to his efforts that day and eventually finished tenth in Verona. The quiet-spoken Russian finished ninth overall at the Tour in 2018 thanks to his consistency and time trial skills and could land a similar result this year despite the many mountain stages in the final week.
Katusha-Alpecin for the Tour de France: Ilnur Zakarin, Alex Dowsett, Rick Zabel, Mads Würtz Schmidt, Nils Politt, José Gonçalves, Jens Debusschere and Marco Haller.
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