Sivakov shows he's back to his best with Tour of the Alps attack
Ineos Grenadiers rider building for Giro d’Italia after two years of Grand Tour pain and suffering
The results of stage 2 of the Tour of the Alps didn’t highlight Pavel Sivakov’s strong ride out front in the break of the day but his smile as he warmed down at the Ineos Grenadiers team bus revealed a lot more.
“It’s a good sign after the problems I’ve had. I’m really happy to be back to my level,” Pavel Sivakov said, indicating his suffering and true talent in just a few words.
Sivakov won the 2019 Tour of the Alps and the Tour de Pologne and was ninth overall at the 2019 Giro d’Italia, confirming the talent he showed as an under-23 rider. However, he crashed on the rain-soaked opening stage of the 2020 Tour de France around Nice and his Grand Boucle debut became a battle of survival all the way to Paris.
He also crashed out the 2021 Giro d’Italia after just five stages, with the rest of the season spent working for his Ineos Grenadiers teammates and chasing his fitness. Illness forced him to quit the Volta a Catalunya in March and he had to expedite his change of nationality from Russian to French after the UCI reacted to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
However, a new focus on securing a place in the Ineos Grenadiers team for the Giro d’Italia rather than the Tour de France appears to have given him new focus and better fortune.
Sivakov made sure he was in the attack of the day as stage 2 of the Tour of the Alps head straight up the Passo Rolle at the foot of the Dolomites and then toyed with his breakaway companions, dropping Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana Qazaqstan), talented young Belgian Cian Uijtdebroeks (Bora-Hansgrohe), Jonathan Caicedo (EF Education-EasyPost) and Thymen Arensman (Team DSM).
Only Michael Storer (Groupama-FDJ) managed to hang onto Sivakov’s wheel until they were caught by a hard working Bahrain Victorious team, working for eventual stage winner Pello Bilbao. Sivakov still fought in the sprint, finishing fifth, making him arguably the rider of the day.
“I don’t know about being the rider of the day. I gave it a go and it was a good day out front. It’s good to see that my form is there and I really enjoyed it out there, it’s nice to be in a break,” he said, happily.
“We had a good group in front and so I tried to use that in the first part of the stage. Then on the Passo della Mendola, I thought it was time to make it harder and go away with a smaller group. I went clear on my own but they came back to me. But we dropped Lopez and others, which was good to see.
“I felt really good on the climbs but I just wished they were a little harder, we were rolling in the big ring quite often. If it had been harder, especially on the last climber, then perhaps I could have dropped Storer because I think he was on his limit.”
Sivakov was surprised the Bahrain Victorious chase group caught them so quickly on the descent to the finish in Lana but he focused on his performance rather than his result. He hopes to secure a place in the Ineos Grenadiers team for the Giro d’Italia and so get his career back on the stellar trajectory it once followed.
“I’m here to build for the Giro d’Italia, selection hasn’t been made yet but it’s a goal for the first part of my season for sure,” he said with determination.
“I was unsure of my form coming here after being at altitude in Sierra Nevada. I didn’t feel amazing up there but my legs are much better now, so is my confidence.”
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Stephen is the most experienced member of the Cyclingnews team, having reported on professional cycling since 1994. He has been Head of News at Cyclingnews since 2022, before which he held the position of European editor since 2012 and previously worked for Reuters, Shift Active Media, and CyclingWeekly, among other publications.