Viatcheslav Ekimov will replace Igor Makarov as the president of the Russian Cycling Federation, after he unanimously won the voted in Moscow on Wednesday. Makarov stepped down as president earlier this year after taking up the post in 2010 but becomes the honorary president. Makarov was an influential backer of Brian Cookson when he stood for the role of UCI president in 2013.
Ekimov has been the general manager of the Katusha squad, which is owned by Makarov, since 2012 but stepped down in October, with former senior directeur sportif Jose Acevedo was promoted to replace him at the now Swiss-registered team.
Ekimov had been up against a Moscow businessman by the name of Alexandre Vinokourov (not the Astana team manager). However, Vinokourov dropped out of the running ahead of the vote by 53 delegates.
"In 2010, I put forward a candidacy, but [back] then my attempt carried an adventurist character," Ekimov told the TASS news agency. "Over the past six years, I have gained experience of administrative work and my nomination this time is serious and I thank all the regional representatives for their support."
Ekimov was a professional rider from 1990 until 2006, and rode for teams such as Rabobank and US Postal. During his long career, he took stage wins at the Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana. He has two Olympic time trial titles, the second of which was awarded to him after Tyler Hamilton was caught doping.
His rival Vinokourov was highly complementary of Ekimov, stating that he had chosen to support him rather than stand against him.
"I think Ekimov is a great manager and a person who is able to give much to the domestic cycling,” Vinokourov explained."He is running for President of the Federation for the second time, and I decided to withdraw his candidacy in favour of it. I myself will continue to work in the Board of Trustees and to organise domestic competitions."
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