Zakarin extends with Katusha-Alpecin

Katusha-Alpecin announced Monday that Ilnur Zakarin had extended with the team through 2019, confirming expectations that the 27-year-old Russian would be re-upping for the long term.

"I am looking forward to two more years with Team Katusha-Alpecin," said Zakarin via a team release. "Since I became part of the team, I have steadily improved, and I hope to continue to do so in the future. I hope to make myself happy, as well as all the people who work for the team."

Indeed, Zakarin has gradually raised his profile since a breakthrough victory at the 2015 Tour de Romandie, putting in strong Grand Tour performances on the heels of his emergence as a stage racing talent. Zakarin won a stage at the 2015 Giro, and then, after crashing out of the 2016 edition of the race while sitting fifth overall, recovered to start the Tour de France, where he won stage 17. He put in his first career Grand Tour top five performance earlier this season, finishing fifth at the Giro d'Italia. He is also the reigning national champion of Russia in the time trial.

"We are happy to continue working with Ilnur," Katusha general manager José Azevedo said in the release. "He has shown in this year's Giro d'Italia and many other times that he is one of the most active and best climbers in the world. If he continues to work hard, I am sure he will one day be high up on a podium of a Grand Tour. We will give him the best support possible from the team."

Having signed a two-year extension with Katusha, Zakarin will now set his sights on the upcoming Vuelta a España.

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