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War in Ukraine prompts Pavel Sivakov to drop Russian license and represent France

'I am totally against this war and all my thoughts are with the Ukrainian people' says Ineos Grenadiers rider.

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In light of the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine, Pavel Sivakov has fast-tracked his switch in nationality from Russian to French. The rider has dual nationality but raced under a Russian license.

The transfer of nationality applies immediately, with the news confirmed by both the rider and Ineos Grenadiers on Friday morning. Sivakov already had a French passport but he had represented Russia at major championships. His nationality on the Ineos Grenadiers and the UCI websites and have already been updated.

The rider, whose Russian parents both competed as professional cyclists, was raised primarily in France after being born in Italy. He had competed for Russia in both world and European championships, with his last appearance for the country coming at the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2021.

Also read: Pavel Sivakov: ‘I’m totally against the war’ in Ukraine

The announcement comes just a few days after the 24-year-old openly criticized the war in Ukraine and Russian aggression.

Earlier this week the UCI also brought in sanctions that barred teams from Russia and Belarus from competing in races but allowed for athletes from those nations to remain in competition as long as they raced for teams outside of Russia and Belarus.

The UCI’s sanctions came after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) called for international sporting federations and event organizers to ban Russian and Belarusian athletes from taking part in their events.

The UCI also made clear that they were introducing regulations that specifically catered for riders like Sivakov, who had multiple nationalities and wanted to switch from either Russia or Belarus.

“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 Ukraine,” Sivakov said in a statement released by Ineos Grenadiers on Friday.

“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,” he said.

Sivakov already held a French passport but the war in Ukraine prompted him to speed up a desire to represent France at an international level.

“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 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.

“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.”