In four participations on the Tour de France, Russian team Katusha, formerly Tinkoff, having come into being as a continental ranked cycling force in 2006, with already Pavel Brutt, the Russian champion at the time, present in many attempts at breakaways in 2011, has won two stage victories: one at its beginnings on the Big Loop in 2009 by its now retired leader Sergei Ivanov, and the other at the summit of the climb up the Cote de la Croix Neuve Laurent Jalabert slope in Mende, where Joaquim Rodriguez beat his countryman Alberto Contador, who himself had attacked to try and catch is Astana team-mate Alexandre Vinokourov
The Russians and Kazakhs seemed to be set to dominate cycling with their huge budgets drawn from gas and oil extraction firms, but the “Russian Global Cycling Project”, which included displaying the shapes of the Kremlin on the riders’ jerseys, has not advanced at the pace desired by the powers that be, who failed to give the sufficient impetus desired by Russia’s cycling fraternity: Denis Menchov, winner of the Giro and twice triumphant on the Vuelta, 3rd on the Tour de France 2010, nonetheless retired in spring 2013, his star having waned.
The return of “Purito” Rodriguez to the roads of Le Tour, having finished second on the Giro and the Vuelta last year, is an element likely to redress the currently negative balance of Katusha on the Big Loop. The route of the one hundredth edition is tailor-made for his explosiveness.
Stage victories: 2
- 2009: Sergeï Ivanov at Besançon
- 2010: Joaquim Rodriguez at Mende
Victories in secondary classifications: 0
Yellow Jerseys: 0
KEY FIGURES: 2 - the number of stage victories by Katusha in four participations on the Tour de France.
18th July 2009: on a transitional stage between the Vosges and the Alps, veteran rider Sergeï Ivanov achieves the first victory for a Russian team on the Tour de France
16th July 2010: Joaquim Rodriguez beats his countryman Alberto Contador to win, in true puncher fashion, at the summit of the Côte de la Croix Neuve Laurent Jalabert climb in Mende
22nd July 2010: the performance of Joaquim Rodriguez, 3rd on the stand-out stage of Le Tour at the summit of the Tourmalet pass, is eclipsed by the duel between Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck.