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Ekimov returns ‘home’ to Russian project

2011 Giro d'Italia stage 19, Selander and Ekimov
RadioShack's Bjorn Selander chats with Ekimov at the Giro. Photo: Graham Watson | grahamwatson.com

Viatcheslav Ekimov, the Olympic champion and super-domestique who spent much of his career helping Lance Armstrong, is heading back to Russia in a new job for the 2012 season.

Ekimov, 45, is set to become an advisor for the Russian Global Cycling Project, the ambitious national project that includes the Katusha men’s team as well as other track and development squads.

Ekimov will act as an advisor to Igor Makarov, the founder and director of the RGCP and president of the Russian cycling federation.

Officials did not define what exactly Ekimov will be doing in his new duties, but it appears as though he will not be working directly with the Katusha men’s team. Instead, he will take a larger role, providing input to the sprawling project which hopes to revive Russian cycling back to its glory days of the Soviet era.

Despite winning two gold medals for the Russian national team, Ekimov spent a good chunk of his 17-year career with American-registered teams

He joined U.S. Postal Service in 1997 in a two-year stint as the team was getting off the ground. After one season with Amica Chips, Ekimov returns to U.S. Postal Service at the insistence of Armstrong.

Ekimov rode through the 2006 season and joined Discovery Channel as a sport director the following season.

The merger of Leopard-Trek and RadioShack left Ekimov out in the cold. Three directors from each team were kept on to go into the 2012 season, with Ekimov the odd-man out as Alain Gallopin, Dirk Demol and Jose Azevedo were link up with RadioShack-Nissan-Trek next year.

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