Pavel Sivakov says he’s trying not to get carried away with his strong form this year, and has opted not to ride the upcoming Vuelta a España.
The 22-year-old, along with his Ineos team, have decided that a second Grand Tour this season would be too much. Sivakov made his Grand Tour debut at the Giro d’Italia May, finishing ninth overall after taking leadership duties from Egan Bernal who crashed and injured himself ahead of the race.
Sivakov led into the Giro with a victory at the Tour of the Alps over a stellar field that included Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) and Rafał Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe) and added another stage race victory to his palmarès at the Tour of Poland in June; his first at WorldTour level.
Despite that victory in Poland, the Russian will take on two shorter stage races in the coming month rather than the Vuelta, as he builds towards the World Championships in Yorkshire. He’ll ride the four-stage Deutschland Tour (August 29 to September 1) alongside Geraint Thomas, before heading to the Tour of Britain later in September (7-14).
Sivakov says it was “hard” not to chase his ambitions in the third of the year’s Grand Tours in Spain, but admits it is the more constructive decision with plenty of opportunity to ride two Grand Tours in the same season in the coming years.
“It’s better not to rush things,” Sivakov said on the Team Ineos website.
“Guys who are good in Poland usually do the Vuelta but I spoke with the team, we have so much experience here, and we decided that it would be better this year to just stick with the Giro and finish the season with some other good races. This career is long. I am only 22 at the moment and I will have the time to do two Grand Tours in a season across my career.
“It’s better to back off a little now – although that’s hard to do! When things are going well it’s easy to get carried away and do too much. I will have a good programme and end the season with a good amount of race days. I think it’s the right decision not to race the Vuelta.
“I should be at the start for Tour of Britain and I think that’s the perfect preparation for the Worlds on similar roads in the same country.”
Sivakov also paid tribute to Lotto-Soudal rider Bjorg Lambrecht, who died after a crash on the third stage of the Tour of Poland. Sivakov and Lambrecht competed regularly at under-23 level in races like the Tour de l’Avenir, the Ronde de l’Isard and the U23 Liège–Bastogne–Liège.
“Of course, I dedicate this win to him. It was such sad news. It was hard for everybody there at the race,” added Sivakov. “He was a really good talent and a really good guy. I wouldn’t say that I knew him really well but I raced a lot with him. We are the same age and he was my biggest rival in 2017, in my last year as an under-23.
“In all of the big stage races that year we were always fighting for the victory and I’ve been thinking about those races a lot over the last few days. When I heard the news… It wasn’t easy. It’s so sad for cycling to lose Bjorg.
“All of the little problems you think you have, when you hear this, it’s really nothing. There are much more important things in life than cycling. I completely agreed with the decision to neutralise stage four. Nobody was able to race that day.
“Bjorg was a fighter, he never gave up on the bike, and after stage four we tried to do our best in the race to honour him. He would have wanted us to race.”