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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Russian Cycling Veteran Happy in Support Role

AVRANCHES, France -- Lance Armstrong's teammate Viaceslav Ekimov is determined to carry on racing for another two years and help the American in his bid to win a fourth and fifth Tour de France.

The 36-year-old, who beat Armstrong to win the gold medal in cycling's individual time-trial event in the Sydney Olympics, retired from racing at the end of last year.

But, after just a few months without riding, the Russian rider was back in training and Armstrong happily took him back into his team.

"Now I want to carry on until 2004. I still have to negotiate my contract but I want to carry on and ride in the Olympic Games in Athens," Ekimov said.

"Last year was the first time I took some time off and it helped me recover and also helped me find the motivation to want to race again.

"I just like racing and I missed it so I started riding my bike again in mid-January and started serious training in March. By the end of May I was ready to race again."

Ekimov rode his first race, the Dauphine Libere, in June, helping Armstrong win overall.

It was enough to convince Armstrong that Ekimov was back to his best and to give him a place in the U.S. Postal Service team for the Tour de France.

"I've ridden the Tour de France 11 times so I know what it's going to be like day after day and week after week. I try and use that experience to help Lance," Ekimov said.

Ekimov will dedicate himself to helping Armstrong win the three-week Tour de France, which ends in Paris on July 28. The only day when he was "allowed" to ride for himself was Monday in the individual time- trial on France's west coast.

"I was trying to win it," he said.

"I went full on because the rest day was the day after and so there is time to recover. The course suited me. I took my chances on Monday and now I will use all my energy to help Lance win another Tour de France."

(Tuesday was a rest day in the Tour de France.)