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. Katusha has known what it is to win bunch sprints in the Tour de France since 2014 thanks to Alexander Kristoff in Saint-Étienne and Nîmes, but the rider who replaced him in 2018, Marcel Kittel, was such a big flop that the German sprinter decided to take a break from cycling in spring 2019.
Russia and Kazakhstan once 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 developed as fast as its founders would have liked. The dearth of local talent forced Katusha to cast a wide net to hold its own in the Tour de France, but the commercial globalisation of the team paradoxically coincided with the long-awaited emergence of a Russian star. Before coming in fifth in the Giro and third in the Vuelta in 2017, Ilnur Zakarin had become Katusha's second Russian Tour de France stage winner in 2016, when he brought his climbing talent to bear to triumph on Finhaut-Emosson Dam. In 2018, the Russian finished the Tour de France in ninth place without making an impression and was invisible in the Vuelta (20th), but he bounced back in the 2019 Giro to win the Lago Serrù stage and close the top 10 of the race. The team, now managed by former Portuguese rider José Azevedo and sponsored by the German shampoo brand Alpecin, currently races under a Swiss licence.
Stage wins: 7
Secondary classification wins: 0
Yellow jerseys: 0
10: 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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