Despite the breakaway not succeeding on stage two of the Tour of the Alps, Pavel Sivakov was cheered by his efforts in the mountains.
He said it was a "good sign after the problems I've had". The Ineos Grenadiers rider, accompanied by Michael Storer, lasted until under 10km to go to the finish in Lana.
Speaking after the finish of stage two, Sivakov said he was "happy to be back to my level".
Sivakov won the race in 2019, and the Tour de Pologne later that same year, and was ninth overall at the Giro d’Italia too. Since then, however, his career has been beset by crashes, injury and illness. He also decided to change his UCI nationality from Russian to French this year after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and the subsequent UCI rule changes.
This year, he finished ninth overall at the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana, but was then subsequently forced to leave the Volta a Catalunya early due to illness.
"I’m here to build for the Giro d’Italia," Sivakov explained. "Selection hasn’t been made yet but for sure it’s a goal for the first part of my season for sure. I was unsure of my form coming here after being at altitude in Sierra Nevada. I didn’t feel amazing up there but my legs are much better now."
If he is able to continue on his good trajectory and return to the form he displayed three years ago, the now French rider might be a good option for Ineos at the grand tours this year.
With no Egan Bernal due to his crash and injury, the squad might be forced to shuffle plans around, with Sivakov and Richie Porte likely to head to the Giro d'Italia along with Richard Carapaz, who finished second at Catalunya last month.
The former two are both flying high on GC at the Tour of the Alps after two stages, just 16 seconds behind the race leader Pello Bilbao.
Sivakov infiltrated the day's big break, which also included Miguel Ángel López, Thymen Arensman, and Michael Storer. Only the latter managed to keep up with Sivakov throughout the day however.
The French-Australian duo looked to be in a good position before the time gaps suddenly changed and they were caught by the on-rushing peloton led by Bahrain-Victorious, but it still gave them both good signs for their form.
"I don’t know about being the rider of the day," Sivakov said. "I gave it a go and it was a good day out front. It’s good to see that my form is there and I really enjoyed it out there, it’s nice to be in a break.
"We lost a lot of time on the downhill and I’m not sure how that happened. We didn’t go super fast but we didn’t go slow either. I still had good legs for the sprint and after such a hard day out, that’s a good sign."
Ineos and Sivakov have three more days to improve their position, and the French rider has the chance to cement his place in the team's Giro squad.
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