Saturday, October 17, 2015

Viktor Manakov

So for those of you that are smart and paying attention to the European Track Championships in Grechen, Switzerland, you would know that Viktor Manakov (Russia) is currently leading the Men's Omnium after the first three events. Manakov rode for Leopard-Trek on the road this year and while his results on the road have been spiky to say the least, Manakov has been a fixture in the world of the track omnium after winning the European Track Omnium in 2013 and finishing 2nd in the U23 edition in 2014. Manakov already has one international omnium win under his belt this year and is making a strong case for the Russian spot in the Rio Olympics.

Viktor Manakov Sr. on the far left "celebrating" the Soviet win in 1980 Olympics
Yet most of you probably are not aware that he is the 2nd Viktor Manakov to be a scourge on the velodrome. Back in the last 70's, Viktor Manakov joined the Lokomotiv school of Alexander Kuznetsov and joined promising young stars such as Alexander Krasnov. Manakov was apart of the World Championship squad in the Junior Team Pursuit and 2nd in the Individual Pursuit in 1978. Manakov would be apart of the winning Team Pursuit squad in the Moscow Olympics in 1980 before having a down period in the early to mid 80's. The Soviets and Manakov re-emerged in the mid-80's in the team pursuit with a very young Viatcheslav Ekimov and Krasnov. In 1985 and 1986, they were the bronze medalists in the Team Pursuit World Championships before cracking through the barriers in 1987 to win the World Championship.

"Papa, how do I go like you did in the pursuit?"
It would be the last hurrah for Manakov and Krasnov as both would miss out on the Olympic selection for 1988 to Lithuanian talents Umaras and Kasputis along with the now-deceased wunderkind Dmitry Nelyubin, who was murdered on New Year's Day in 2005.

Manakov ended up marrying Jolanta Polikeviciute, the Lithuanian cyclist whose twin-sister Rasa won the 2001 World Championship and who is 10 years younger than Manakov. The couple had younger Viktor before the vast majority of Jolanta's career results and younger Viktor grew up riding many of his mom's old team bikes.

Viktor Sr. wanted his younger name-sake to pick anything but cycling because of how painful the sport is but the two wheels won out and have taken his son to new heights.

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