Ineos Grenadiers’ Russian rider Pavel Sivakov has been granted a request to change nationality and will now ride under the French flag.
Sivakov, who was born in Italy to Russian parents and moved to France when he was only a year old, said he had wanted to change nationality “for some time”, but because of the war in Ukraine he wanted to ” faster “its application. The 24-year-old was candid in his condemnation of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on social media last week.
“It has been some difficult days to see what is happening at the moment,” Sivakov wrote on Twitter. “First of all, I just want to say that I am totally against the war and can not get around what is going on in Ukraine.”
The Ineos rider, who finished in ninth place at the 2019 Giro d’Italia and has long been hailed as a future grand tour candidate, added: “I also want people to understand that most Russians only want peace and never asked for all this to happen.
The Telegraph Sport understands that Sivakov would have liked to have changed nationality before now, but was discouraged from doing so as it could have taken him out of the last Olympic cycle and he was eager to drive in Tokyo.
The UCI, which last week ruled that individual Russian and Belarusian riders could continue to compete for their trading team, but under a neutral flag, has now accelerated his request.
“On Wednesday, March 2, 2022, the UCI officially assigned Pavel Sivakov to change nationality from Russian to French,” the statement read. “Both cycling federations have been notified and it now qualifies Pavel to ride under the French flag at national, world championships and Olympic events.”
In the same statement, Sivakov said: “I was born in Italy and moved to France when I was a year old. France is where I grew up and was educated and where I fell in love with cycling, which led me to racing. feels like my home.
“I have wanted to become a French citizen for some time and had made the request to the UCI, but given what is happening in Ukraine at the moment, I would quickly track this down.
“I would like to thank the UCI and the team at INEOS Grenadiers for supporting me with this process and helping to make this a reality. To now have the opportunity to run as a French citizen in international events makes me incredibly happy. It would be a dream of driving in Paris at the 2024 Olympics for France and that is something that the team has said they will fully support.
“As I have said before, I am totally against this war and all my thoughts go to the Ukrainian people. Like most people around the world right now, I hope for peace and a speedy end to the suffering that is happening in Ukraine. “