Ineos rider Sivakov granted nationality change from Russian to French

Cycling - Tour de France - Stage 19 - Bourg-en-Bresse to Champagnole - France - September 18, 2020. Team INEOS Grenadiers rider Pavel Sivakov of Russia before the start. Pool via REUTERS/Tim De Waele

March 4 (Reuters) - Cycling's governing body UCI has granted Ineos Grenadiers rider Pavel Sivakov a change of nationality from Russian to French, his team announced on Friday.

Sivakov was born in Italy to Russian parents who were also cyclists and moved to France when he was one.

Both cycling federations have been notified and he can now race under the French flag at national, world championship and Olympic events, the Grenadiers said.

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"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 in a statement.

Sivakov said Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which Moscow calls a special operation to capture what it regards as dangerous nationalists, had prompted him to have his change of nationality expedited.

"I've 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," Sivakov said.

"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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Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Alison Williams

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