Russian professional cyclist Aleksandr Vlasov has called for an end to the war in Ukraine, saying that he just wants peace.
The Bora-Hansgrohe rider posted on Instagram announcing his opposition to the war. As a Russian rider on a German team, he is still permitted to continue racing, however he will not be allowed to wear his Russian national champion's jersey in any time trials.
Vlasov wrote: "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. 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."
On Thursday, Russian president Vladimir Putin spoke to Emmanuel Macron, with the French president saying that “the worst is still to come” in Ukraine.
Vlasov is down to ride Paris-Nice next week. He follows fellow Russian professional Pavel Sivakov in speaking out against Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
The UCI's rules mean that all Russian and Belarusian teams would not be allowed to partake in UCI-sanctioned races, but individual riders from the two countries would be allowed to ride for international teams.
Bora-Hansgrohe's general manager Ralph Denk said the UCI had provided "clear rules" with regard to Russian athletes.
He said: "We welcome this, as we condemn any form of aggression or violence, but are of the opinion that blameless athletes should be judged according to their own personal behaviour and not solely on their nation of origin.”
Vlasov previously rode for Gazprom-RusVelo, one of the teams that has been affected by the UCI's decision. The Russian team was on the startlist for Tirreno-Adriatico, which begins next week, before the measures were brought in.
Gazprom-RusVelo released a short statement to Cycling Weekly on Thursday saying: "Today the team management is on its way to Switzerland, UCI headquarters, in order to continue our dialogue regarding the measures which we need to take right now for our international team. We hope that we can tell you more details tonight after the meeting."
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