Katusha: “For us Ilnur is the winner”

In a jury decision that can best be described as controversial, Team Katusha’s Ilnur Zakarin was relegated to second place after earning the stage win in a two-up mountain sprint against Nairo Quintana in stage 2 of the 70th Tour de Romandie on Thursday. A slight movement to his right resulted in a protest from the Movistar team and a jury decision to gift the win to Quintana. Zakarin was moved to second place.

“Of course I am sad and disappointed with this decision. 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”, said team leader Ilnur Zakarin.

An attack from Quintana on the final climb was easily responded to by Zakarin, who rode across to the Colombian rider for the last 6 km of racing. Coming into the last few turns before the finish line in Morgins, Zakarin was positioned perfectly and came around Quintana in the closing meters to win the stage. A protest was filed in regards to the movement from Zakarin and a jury decision modified the stage results, giving Quintana the stage win. He also wears the yellow jersey by 18-seconds to Zakarin.

“I completely disagree with the decision of the jury. 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, said a clearly disappointed team director Dmitry Konyshev.

“The team was working very well today. We saw Silin in the breakaway and Rein impressive on the last climb. Plus I was not expecting such a strong performance from Ilnur today. He’s in preparation for the Giro, so today was just a small test for things to come”, said Konyshev.

Stage 3 on Friday brings the individual time trial. At 15,11 km the Sion stage features a climb midway through the profile.