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Sivakov granted switch from Russian to French nationality

Team Ineos rider Russias Pavel Sivakov crosses the finish line of the fifth stage of the Giro dItalia 2021 cycling race 177 km between Modena and Cattolica EmiliaRomagna on May 12 2021 Photo by Dario BELINGHERI AFP Photo by DARIO BELINGHERIAFP via Getty Images
Pavel Sivakov (Ineos Grenadiers) (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Pavel Sivakov has switched from Russian to French nationality after he was this week granted permission by the UCI to do so in light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The change in Sivakov’s status takes effect immediately and it means he is now eligible to compete for France at the World Championships.

Born in Italy and raised in south-western France, Sivakov raced under a Russian licence and for the Russian national team, although he had spoken of the possibility to switching to race for France even before he turned professional. He is the son of former professional riders Alexei Sivakov and Aleksandra Koliaseva.

“I was born in Italy and moved to France when I was one year old. France is where I grew up and was educated and where I fell in love with riding my bike which led me to racing. It feels like my home,” Sivakov said in a statement released by his Ineos Grenadiers team. 

"I have wanted to become a French national for some time and had made the request to the UCI, but given what is happening in the Ukraine at the moment, I wanted to fast track this. I want to thank the UCI and the team at Ineos Grenadiers for supporting me with this process and helping make this a reality.”

On Tuesday evening, the UCI announced that it had suspended Russian and Belarusian teams from competition, although Russian and Belarusian riders on foreign-registered teams remain eligible to compete in UCI races.

Sivakov announced his opposition to the Russian invasion of Ukraine in a post on social media last week, and his thoughts were echoed on Thursday by Aleksandr Vlasov (Bora-Hansgrohe), who is now the only remaining Russian rider in the WorldTour.

“As I have previously said, I am totally against this war and all my thoughts are with the Ukrainian people,” Sivakov said in Friday’s statement. “Like most people around the world right now, I hope for peace and a swift end to the suffering happening in the Ukraine.”

Sivakov will thus be eligible to compete in the French Championships in June and to race for Thomas Voeckler’s national squad in the European and World Championships later in the season.

“To now have the opportunity to race as a French national in international events makes me incredibly happy,” Sivakov said. “It would be a dream to race in Paris at the 2024 Olympics for France.”

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