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by Mark Zalewski
December 6, 2016
In today’s CyclingTips Daily News Digest: Race radios, gran fondos, one-day licenses, and more: USA Cycling announces policy and operational changes for 2017; Azevedo replaces Ekimov as Katusha general manager; Laura Kenny critical of omnium format changes; Wout van Aert happy with current form, despite criticism; Dwars door Vlaanderen adding cobbles, shifting date in 2018; Lotto Soudal announces team rosters; Van Avermaet named top Flemish athlete; Dumoulin, Van der Breggen and Ligtlee nominated for Dutch awards; Aqua Blue Sport unveils team kit; Course construction underway for Cyclocross World Championships; WorldTour riders look back on Revolution Cycling Champions League in London; Teaser for Mayhem documentary.
The Katusha squad unveiling its 2017 kit with new sponsor Alpecin also comes with changes in the management structure. Current director sportif José Azevedo will take over as General Manager from Viacheslav Ekimov, with Ekimov moving to a sponsor liaison role in order to have more time to spend with family.
“It is an honor for me to follow in Ekimov’s footsteps,” said Azevedo. “He has paved the way for me. My task will be easier than Viacheslav’s job these past years. A lot of work has been done by him after transforming the team from a national one to a very successful international project. It is also my intention to continue to do the sports director job in some races next season. I look forward to it all.”
Both men served as key riders on Lance Armstrong’s US Postal teams during the now scandal-plagued years, and both were named by whistleblower Floyd Landis as having received blood transfusions while on the US Postal team. Ekimov moved into a director role upon retirement under Johan Bruyneel, and then joined the Katusha project in 2012. The move was controversial as the team had been denied a WorldTour license by the UCI on the basis of ethical reasons in relation to a string of doping violations, and the appointment of Ekimov was included among the rationale. However, the Court of Arbitration for Sport overturned the UCI ruling.
“It has been a tough few years,” said Ekimov. “The last four seasons I spent all of my energy in this team and I am proud of what we have achieved. [The wins] were the visible things but behind the scenes we worked even harder to change the team’s structure, to be innovative and attractive to sponsors.
“My mission is completed, now I feel like I need some rest for a while. For the nearby future, I will devote more time to my family but afterwards I will spend my energy for Katusha-Alpecin. It is good that my experience and relations will be utilized. I will stay in the team’s management committee and will devote my time to the relations with all our big and smaller sponsors, a task that is getting bigger every year.”
Click through to read more at Katusha-Alpecin.