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Vlasov: Like a lot of Russians, I just want peace

ALTO DE LAS ANTENAS DEL MAIGMO TIBI ALICANTE SPAIN FEBRUARY 04 Aleksander Vlasov of Russia and Teamm Bora Hansgrohe attacks in the final gravel strokes sector while fans cheer during the 73rd Volta A La Comunitat Valenciana 2022 Stage 3 a 1551km stage from Alicante to Alto De Las Antenas Del Maigmo Tibi 1080m VCV2022 on February 04 2022 in Alicante Spain Photo by Dario BelingheriGetty Images
Aleksandr Vlasov (Bora-Hansgrohe) at the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana (Image credit: Dario Belingheri/Getty Images)

Russian time trial champion Aleksandr Vlasov has followed his fellow countryman Pavel Sivakov in stating his opposition to the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine. In a statement on Instagram on Thursday, the Bora-Hansgrohe rider echoed Sivakov's comments from last week.

"I, like a lot of Russians, just want peace. I'm not a political person, and normal people like me weren't asked if we want a war," Vlasov wrote.

"It has been a shock for everyone and I hope that it will stop as soon as possible. It's a difficult situation for everybody. I feel sorry for all the people who are suffering, and I hope that there will soon be peace. 

"I am an athlete and my goal should be to unite people across political borders, rather than divide them. I think that should be the role of sports."

Last Friday, Sivakov took to social media to express his opposition to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. "I just want to say that I'm totally against the war and can't get around of what's going on in Ukraine, all my thoughts are with the Ukrainian people," the Ineos rider wrote.

"I also want people to understand that most of the Russians only want peace and never asked for all of this to happen, we shouldn't be targets of hate just because of our origin. I know these few lines won't make a big difference to the current situation but I just wanted to share it."

On Tuesday, the UCI announced that Russian and Belarusian teams, including ProTeam Gazprom-Rusvelo, would be suspended from competition with immediate effect.

The ban does not cover Russian or Belarusian riders on foreign-registered teams, meaning that Vlasov will line out next week at Paris-Nice, although the UCI measures will prevent him from wearing his Russian national champion's jersey in the stage 4 time trial.

Since the UCI announcement, British Cycling has called for further action to be taken, including the suspension of the Russian and Belarusian cycling federations and the removal of their officials from governance positions at both the UCI and European Cycling Union (UEC).

Both British Cycling and the Dutch Cycling Federation (KNWU) have said they will not sanction the participation of teams or individuals representing Russia and Belarus in their events.

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