LONDON (AP) _ After racing for the Russian team at the Tokyo Olympics, cyclist Pavel Sivakov announced his nationality switch to France on Friday citing the war in Ukraine as a factor.
The 24-year-old Sivakov said he grew up in France and long planned the eligibility change with the International Cycling Union (UCI).
“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,” Sivakov said in a statement released by his British team Ineos.
Seven months ago, he competed for his parents’ country at the Tokyo Olympics and placed 32nd in the road race.
“I was born in Italy and moved to France when I was 1-year-old,” Sivakov said. “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. It would be a dream to race in Paris at the 2024 Olympics for France.”