May 03, 2015

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) Ilnur Zakarin of Russia got a career-best title Sunday, winning the six-day Tour of Romandie by placing third in the final time-trial stage.

Zakarin was just 13 seconds slower than former time-trial world champion Tony Martin of Germany despite changing his bike because of technical problems.

The 25-year-old Katusha rider retained the leader's yellow jersey by 17 seconds from teammate Simon Spilak of Slovenia. Spilak was second fastest in the time trial, coming 11 seconds behind Martin's mark of 23 minutes, 17 seconds over a rain-soaked 17-kilometer (11-mile) route around Lausanne.

''I'm very happy. Thank you to my team,'' Zakarin said in English in a post-race broadcast interview.

Chris Froome of Britain, the two-time defending Romandie champion, was 13th fastest Sunday and placed third overall, 35 seconds behind Zakarin.

As a teenager, Zakarin was a European junior time-trial champion then was banned for two years by the Russian cycling federation after testing positive for a steroid.

The winner of the Tour of Romandie went on to overall victory in the Tour de France for three straight years from 2011-2013: Cadel Evans of Australia, Bradley Wiggins of Britain and his Sky teammate Froome.

The 2014 Tour de France winner Vincenzo Nibali of Italy finished 10th Sunday, trailing 1:54 behind Zakarin.

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