Ilnur Zakarin announced a somewhat premature end to his cycling career, announcing the news on his Instagram page. The former Grand Tour contender was part of the Gazprom-RusVelo team since 2021, but was left without racing options when the UCI ban on Russian teams in the wake of his country’s invasion of Ukraine led to the squad’s collapse .
"I officially announce my retirement from cycle sport career," Zakarin wrote. "I’ve had more than 20 years of different competitions, success and obstacles, achievements and failures. Now I’m ready to move on. This is a new stage and a new start."
Zakarin, 32, began his cycling career in 2013 with RusVelo after a trainee stint with Katusha, a somewhat delayed entry to the pro ranks after he served a two-year suspension for methandienone, a banned steroid. After several top finishes in stage races in 2014, including three overall victories, Zakarin was picked up by the Katusha WorldTour team and remained there for five seasons.
During his time with Katusha, Zakarin won the Tour de Romandie (2015), stages of the Giro d’Italia (2015, 2019) and Tour de France (2016) finished in the top 10 of Grand Tours three times, taking third in the 2017 Vuelta a España.
Zakarin struggled to fulfil that potential, however, missing the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio after the IOC’s attempt to ban all Russians with past doping offences in response to the Russian state-sponsored doping scandal.
His sub-par descending skills cost him in Grand Tours, and he notably missed out on […]