Russia's Katusha is heir to the original Tinkoff continental team born in 2006. The team has taken seven stage wins in seven Tour de France starts —the first one in its debut in 2009, courtesy of captain Sergei Ivanov. In 2010, the team witnessed the start of its Joaquim Rodriguez era, as the Spaniard beat his countryman Alberto Contador, who had counter-attacked from behind his Astana team-mate Alexander Vinokourov, at the summit of the Côte de la Croix Neuve in Mende. "Purito" also dislodged "El Pistolero" from the final podium in 2013, won spectacular stages to Huy and Plateau de Beille in 2015 and capped his career with a top 10 place (seventh) at the ripe age of 37 in 2016. In the sprints, Katusha has tasted triumph thanks to Alexander Kristoff in Saint-Étienne and Nîmes in 2014.
Russians and Kazakhs seemed poised to become a dominant force in world cycling thanks to their petrodollar mega-budgets, but the Russian Global Cycling Project, whose jerseys were adorned with the silhouette of the Kremlin until 2015, has not advanced at the pace desired by the powers that be. Lacking local talent, Katusha cast a wide net to maintain its rank in the Tour de France but paradoxically, the commercial globalisation of the team coincided with the long-awaited emergence of a Russian star. Ilnur Zakarin, fifth in the Giro and third in the Vuelta in 2017, became Katusha's second Russian Tour de France stage winner in 2016, when he brought his climbing talent to bear to lift his arms on Finhaut-Emosson Dam. The structure, now based in Switzerland and with former Portuguese pro José Azevedo at its helm, pleased co-sponsor Alpecin by signing a couple of German champions whose best days may nevertheless be behind them: after Tony Martin, a big disappointment in last year's time trial in Düsseldorf, the pressure is on Marcel Kittel to claim five stages like he did in Quick-Step colours last year.
Stage wins: 7
Secondary classification wins: 0
Yellow jerseys: 0
9: Katusha's participations in the Tour de France.
18 July 2009: veteran Sergei Ivanov grabs a transition stage between the Vosges and the Alps, the first one for a Russian team in the history of the Tour de France.
20 July 2013: Joaquim Rodríguez leapfrogs Alberto Contador in Semnoz to finish on the podium of the 100th Tour de France.
20 July 2016: Another win by a Russian rider in a Russian team: Ilnur Zakarin claims stage 16, held entirely in Switzerland, the country where Katusha-Alpecin set up shop in 2017.
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