US Postal Service Team Report

News & Results

08/19/2004| 0 comments
by Thomas Valentinsen
Viatcheslav Ekimov.
Viatcheslav Ekimov.

US Postal Service Team Report

Ekimov wins silver medal in Olympic time trial.

Holding off Father Time for yet another day, Russian Viatcheslav Ekimov turned in a super performance in the road time trial event at the Olympic Games today in the coastal town of <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" /?>
, winning the silver medal.  Ekimov, the gold medal winner in the Olympic time trial four years ago in
, set the pace through the first two time checks of the 48 kilometer race but ultimately finished 18 seconds back of race winner Tyler Hamilton of the
United States
recorded a winning time of 57 minutes and 31 seconds for an average of just over 50 kph.  Eight seconds behind Ekimov, American Bobby Julich rounded out the podium, taking the bronze medal. <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /?>

Two other members of the US Postal team also took part in the time trial today - Colombian Victor Hugo Pena (15th) and

's Benoit Joachim (26th).

With Hamilton, Ekimov and Julich all starting among the final riders to start, Ekimov rolled through the first time check, at 12 kms, in 14 minutes and 15 seconds, two seconds ahead of Australia's Michael Rogers and four seconds ahead of Hamilton.  At the conclusion of the first 24 km lap, Eki came through in 28:33, gaining two seconds on

, now at four seconds, and one second on
, now five seconds back.  However, at the 36 km time check,
moved into the race lead with a time of 43:33, with Eki five seconds behind.  
then increased his lead over the last 12 kilometers to gain the gold.

"What can I say about Eki - at 38 years old?" said USPS team sports manager Johan Bruyneel.   "I remember back in 2002 when Eki made his comeback with us, when he called and said - 'I want to race again and at least go on to defend my title at the 2004 Olympics.'  I remember thinking that was a strong statement at the time and seemed like a crazy challenge, but he is such a professional and knows so much what he wants.  When he is ready, he is ready - today was the best proof of that."

Bruyneel added that to defend his title so strongly, and nearly pull off the victory, four years later was a tremendous effort.   "I'm really happy for him and even a little disappointed that he came so close to winning - it was an amazing performance," said Bruyneel.   "After watching his effort, there is nothing else I can say. He's such a professional.  He has been talking about the Olympics the whole year, even during the Tour de France.  He gave everything we asked of him at the Tour and still was thinking about the Olympic time trial.  Now I understand why."

Click here for complete Olympic Time Trial results and here for our report.

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