Ilnur Zakarin Discussion thread

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I wasn't confident he could get on the podium a couple of weeks ago, not because I doubted his climbing skills but because I feared there would be aggressive racing on descents. Well he survived all of this and even managed to drop Kelderman and Nibali today! Great performance. Great podium. Happy for him.
Well he did drop in the descent of the Cobertoria. In fact, he was one of the only ones who managed to come back after that, aside from De La Cruz. He really saved his Vuelta by coming back. If he was stuck with Lopez he could've lost minutes

Dekker_Tifosi said:
Well he did drop in the descent of the Cobertoria. In fact, he was one of the only ones who managed to come back after that, aside from De La Cruz. He really saved his Vuelta by coming back. If he was stuck with Lopez he could've lost minutes
Michael Woods also came back.
I'm not 100% sure on this, but I think staying upright tomorrow would make Ilnur the first Muslim to podium a Grand Tour. Great ride today, he just has looked stronger than Wilco this week, Kelderman obviously went into the red trying to protect that podium and paid for it dearly, dropping behind both Zakarin and Contador, but the Kamaz had too much power for him in the end. Zakarin did a good job of squeezing a bit of time where he could, such as at Sierra Nevada where nobody else really tried from the GC men once that last group was formed and the Contador move was neutralized save for López, and as ever came good at the end of the race, when control becomes less tight and when fatigue hits. He always seems to be in good form and aggressive temper in the final week of GTs, whether he's aiming for GC or not. That achilles heel when it comes to bike handling needs to be sorted out urgently though, as he nearly lost out very early on today.
Didn't even know he was Muslim to be honest. He's from Tatarstan so it makes sense I guess. He was quite fortunate to get on the podium this time though. If he sorts out the bike handling he could have further success. Not sure if he's ever going to be able to win a GT, but you never know these days. Do we know if he plans to race the Tour next year or the year after? He should go there at some point.
Sep 25, 2009
thanks to my 2 good friends (google/search and google/translate), i found the following bits about ilnur NOT mentioned in his english wiki profile...

- his seeming lack of descending skills appears in part related to his poor vision. he was typically wearing lenses which occasionally would fall out during races. he recently had a corrective laser surgery.

- he is indeed a 100% ethnic tatar and speaks their turkic-derived language, loves their cuisine and music. his connection to islam, if anything, is superficial and formal. he appears, as most tatarts there, very russified. can get by in 4 languages at least. he's married to an ethnic russian girl, they have an infant daughter and they live in cyprus now. he credits his wife with helping him to maintain proper weight and diet.

- by temperament he appears, like menchov, the opposite of flamboyant, almost a phlegmatic. he appears intelligent and thoughtful, when faced with tricky questions. said, like for menchov, being with his family is his only place outside racing. loves music, high quality audio, big , fast cars, and I-phone/apple electronics.

- attributes part of his success to a new position on the bike and lighter weight. curiously, he only recently (less than 2 yrs) started training with a power meter. said he feels that long stages fit him even more than time trials.

- does not like hot weather and said he suffers in the heat disproportionally.

-ekimov considers him an exceptional talent that gets born only occasionally

- his idol was always canchellara and later froome with whom he shares almost identical physique (height and weight)
Jun 30, 2014
I knew most of the personal stuff from an interview that was published in La Gazzetta before or durning the Giro (can't remember), but it's still nice to get a bit more information about him, thanks python.
Yeah me too. I like his aggresiveness whenever he feels well. Especially in the 3rd week he seems to be a beast.

If he can get over his 1st mt stage weakness he had this year (blockhaus, andorra) then he can really upset some greats
Almost forgot to post in here how happy I am he made it onto the podium. Thoroughly deserved, he was one of the few contenders who attacked throughout the race. He seems like such a nice guy as well, definitely one of my favorites.
Aug 6, 2015
The problem is that zakarin is very vulnerable and very easy to dethrone him from a podium place or first place (if he could get to first). He is a very poor descender, doesn't have a great team, he is very weak in the first mountain stage. In fact he lose his win chances in the first mountain stage in both giro and vuelta (I don't count etna because no one race there)
Jun 30, 2014
The cobbles and the fact that Kittel will demand a big sprint train could be a problem for him, but it's not like Katusha have a ton of climbing domestiques that couldsupport him in the mountains, so maybe it could work. Still, he'll have very few climbing domestiques and while they should help him a lot in the TTT the cobbles could still be a big problem for a rather poor bike handler like Ilnur.
Good for him. Eventually he had to ride the Tour one day.

Some things:

- He said that he doesn't like the heat. Better prepare for it. Go to train to very hot places.
- Bike handling is a big issue at the Tour. Especially that first week when everyone is fighting for position.
- I don't see a big problem splitting the forces with Kittel. If anything will help him take the pressure off from him. Besides I don't thing he is the one to beat or the one for the win. So the team requirement should not be as big.

My 2 cents.