The UCI has approved Pavel Sivakov's application to switch nationality from Russian to French, fast-tracking his decision due to the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The 24-year-old spoke out against the war earlier in the week, saying he was "totally against" it and that most ordinary Russian people only want peace.
Geopolitical pressure is mounting on Russia, with a growing list of sanctions creeping into sports, with Russia and Belarus banned from the upcoming Paralympic Winter Games and their athletes set to participate as neutrals, while in the world of football FIFA and UEFA have banned all Russian international and club teams from their competitions until further notice.
In a statement released by his Ineos Grenadiers team, Sivakov says that France feels like his home, having grown up there after being born to Russian parents.
“I was born in Italy and moved to France when I was one year old. France is where I grew up and was educated and where I fell in love with riding my bike which led me to racing. It feels like my home," Sivakov said.
While Russian cyclists weren't yet banned from competing under their flag at national events such as the World Championships or Olympic Games, Sivakov will now be eligible to race for France at these races and is looking forward to hopefully doing exactly that.
“I have wanted to become a French national for some time and had made the request to the UCI, but given what is happening in the Ukraine at the moment, I wanted to fast track this. I want to thank the UCI and the team at INEOS Grenadiers for supporting me with this process and helping make this a reality," he said. "To now have the opportunity to race as a French national in international events makes me incredibly happy. It would be a dream to race in Paris at the 2024 Olympics for France and this is something that the team have said they would fully support.
“As I have previously said, I am totally against this war and all my thoughts are with the Ukrainian people. Like most people around the world right now, I hope for peace and a swift end to the suffering happening in the Ukraine.”
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Hi. I'm Cycling Weekly's Weekend Editor. I like writing offbeat features and eating too much bread when working out on the road at bike races.
Before joining Cycling Weekly I worked at The Tab and I've also written for Vice, Time Out, and worked freelance for The Telegraph (I know, but I needed the money at the time so let me live).
I also worked for ITV Cycling between 2011-2018 on their Tour de France and Vuelta a España coverage. Sometimes I'd be helping the producers make the programme and other times I'd be getting the lunches. Just in case you were wondering - Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen had the same ham sandwich every day, it was great.
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