How to Wear a Cycling Cap: Vjatseslav Ekimov

After that red jersey wearing, barrel-chested, wooly-bear of a racer for the Soviet team from the film American Flyers, the guy who looked like he should be holding a Hawken flintlock and wearing leather rather than a mussette and lycra, the guy whose name was Shostakovich or something like that [Belov], Vjatseslav Ekimov (aka Viatcheslav Vladimirovich Ekimov, aka Eki) is likely the best known Russian cyclist of all time. How do I know that? In 2001 Vjatseslav was awarded the title of Russian Cyclist of the Century. Here in the States, though, he will probably be best remembered as one of Lance Armstrong's most trusted and useful lieutenants...

Excuse the intermission there. I don't normally do things like that, but I had a sudden urge for a corn dog and lemonade.

Back to the story. Ekimov was born in 1966, and began his professional career in 1990. HIs palmares of impressive wins began before that: In 1988 he won the Team Pursuit gold medal at the Summer Olympics. Before focusing on road racing, Ekimov would add two more monumental victories on the track - the World Individual Pursuit Championship in 1990, and the World Points Race Championship in 1991. When he retired from the sport in 2006, Ekimov had accumulated stage win in both the Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana, at the Tour de Suisse, Criterium International, Paris-Nice, as well as overall (GC) victories at the Three Days of De Panne (1996 and 2000), the Tour duPont (1994), and the GP Eddy Merckx (2000). He also claimed a 4th place finish in the 1995 Paris-Roubaix and 3rd in 2003. At the 2000 Sydney Olympics Ekimov won a second gold medal in the Time Trial, and then picked up a third Gold Medal four years later in Atlanta (again in the Time Trail) when the apparent victor, Tyler Hamilton, was stripped of this win following his admission of doping in 2012.

Ekimov began his professional career with the Panasonic team, for whom he raced between 1990 and 1992. Thus the photo above is from early in his career. Even without that knowledge, however, you would probably have guessed that winter cap predated the mandatory helmet rule. Ekimov has remained involved in the sport following his retirement in managerial roles of top-level teams.

"I'll never learn how to rest without a bike. It takes a great deal of effort to make myself put it aside for a couple of days, but it does me absolutely not good - I feel that something is missing."