Russian Pavel Sivakov, the 20-year-old winner of the amateur Giro d’Italia and Giro della Valle d’Aosta stage races, will ride for Team Sky in 2018, sources close to the deal have told Cycling Weekly.
The events, together with the Tour de l’Avenir, are the top three amateur stage races and Sivakov’s two big 2017 wins caught Team Sky’s eye.
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“After this experience [Baby Giro and Valle d’Aosta], I love racing stages even more,” Sivakov told Tutto Bici earlier this month.
“I dream of racing the proper Giro, the Tour de France, the Vuelta a España. I also love the Classics very much. Last year, I competed in Paris-Roubaix, a mad race that I started to win, then I punctured in the final and it was over. I will try again.”
Sky took note of his victories and now look to be signing Sivakov to boost its ranks of young general classification contenders, with young Colombian climber Egan Bernal also rumoured to heading to the British team.
The move would have upset BMC Racing, which worked with Sivakov in its BMC Development Team. As part of the deal, riders with the feeder team must join the professional team if a rival’s offer is matched, however Sky appear to have offered the 20-year-old too much for BMC Racing to match.
The Sivakov/Sky deal could be the reason BMC is closing its development team after five years. The American team refused to say so directly, but pointed in that direction.
“Since its inception, this team has graduated eight riders to our professional team,” general manager Jim Ochowicz explained. “All of these athletes have progressed well in BMC Development Team and as graduates to the professional team.
“Unlike prior years, the athletes today are for the most part being managed by rider agents. These rider agents then propose these athletes to other teams who may or may not invest in such a program. In essence, we are now developing athletes at a cost for both our team and other teams.”
“The UCI offers no protection to development teams and no regulations exist that protect their investment or the transfer of riders from team to team.”
Team Sky, fresh off of a fifth Tour de France victory, have yet to confirm the deal.