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Ukranian talent Mark Padun on Gran Camiño win: ‘I want to share this with my citizens’

Ukraine's only rider in the WorldTour dedicates TT victory to home as crisis develops in eastern Europe.

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Mark Padun scored a timely and poignant victory in the final stage of the Gran Camiño this weekend.

Padun – the only Ukrainian in the WorldTour – blazed to time trial victory in the final stage of the Spanish race in a result of resonance as the crisis in his country rapidly escalates.

“I cannot be completely happy, because of what is happening in my country, but I want to share this victory with all of my citizens,” Padun said at the finish. “I am here and I am supporting them as much as I can through this situation. I am following and want to say Slava Ukraini [‘Glory to Ukraine’ -ed].”

“I also want to say thank you to my girlfriend because she’s been following me the whole race and writing me every day, so I’m so amazingly happy,” he continued.

Padun, 25, grew up in Ukrainian city Donetsk and was based there and the national capital Kyiv much of his life, only relocating to western Europe in recent years.

Padun is not the only rider to vocalize support for Ukraine. The wider peloton has been active in standing behind the European nation since hostilities escalated in the past week.

Both Wout van Aert and Fabio Jakobsen put the topic at the forefront of their winners’ speeches after claiming victories at the “opening weekend,” and Franco-Russian star Pavel Sivakov wrote that he was “totally against the war.”  UCI chief David Lappartient and scores more riders have also spoken out on social media.

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Team boss Jonathan Vaughters paid tribute to Padun, who joined EF Education-EasyPost this season.

“It’s been a real pleasure working with Mark this year,” Vaughters said. “From helping him find his voice to silence his critics, to encouraging him to open up a bit and let us help him with his time trialing, he has shown me he’s a truly great human.

“He’s tough. Very tough. And stubborn. Very stubborn. But then, these are the traits of his people, as I am now learning. I’m proud of him. How he has held up the last few weeks? Incredible. We will hear a lot more about Mark Padun this year. I have no doubt. None. Slava Ukraini!