Ilnur Zakarin has signed a two-year deal with CCC, leaving Katusha-Alpecin after five years with the Russian team.
The Russian climber joins the Polish team as a general classification option at stage races, according to general manager Jim Ochowicz, who says CCC’s commercial presence in Russia gives the signing added importance.
Zakarin has previously won two stages of the Giro d’Italia, most recently in 2019, a stage of the Tour de France, and the Tour de Romandie in 2015, and will now be looking to kick on with his career as he approaches his thirties.
“This new contract with CCC Team is a new chapter in my life,” Zakarin said, “regardless of the fact that this season has been very intense, I am very excited and looking forward to the next one. I really want to prove myself and show what I can do.
“Moreover, I am really happy that CCC Team’s 2020 roster will have strong climbers and we will try to get the highest possible results together,” said the Russian. “It’s exciting to start a new chapter in my career and I think CCC Team will be a great fit for me as a rider.”
Riders at Katusha-Apecin were apparently recently told to look for new contracts as the team is set to fold at the end of the season, according to French media.
Rumours of a merger with Pro-Continental outfit Arkéa-Samsic have also emerged, as Katusha’s key sponsors Alpecin and Canyon are apparently set to take their sponsorship money elsewhere for next year. Katusha team management categorically denied the rumours.
Zakarin is Katusha’s second big name signing of the transfer window, which officially opened on August 1, after Matteo Trentin made the switch from Mitchelton-Scott.
CCC’s Jim Ochowicz said: “Our 2020 roster is starting to take shape and with the addition of Ilnur, and some riders still yet to be announced, we are really strengthening the team’s capacity to perform in the mountains.”