Pavel Sivakov: I’d be up for Vuelta a España GC challenge

French rider back in the mix after taking first GC win since 2019 at Vuelta a Burgos.

Photo: Getty Images

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Pavel Sivakov (Ineos Grenadiers) claimed his first stage race title in three years at the Vuelta a Burgos on Saturday and is now hoping to use that form and confidence to potentially mount a GC challenge at the Vuelta a España later this month.

Sivakov was not on the Ineos Grenadiers long-list for the Vuelta a España until recently but second place in San Sebastian, coupled with his result in Burgos, has thrown the French rider into the mix.

“In the next few days I’ll know more about that but hopefully I’ll be there,” Sivakov told VeloNews on the phone during a brief Sunday morning call.

Also read: Vuelta a España: Will Ineos Grenadiers back experience or youth with Rodríguez, Hayter and Plapp in contention?

Ineos is likely to announce its eight rider roster for the Vuelta in the coming week with Richard Carapaz, Carlos Rodriguez, Luke Plapp and Ethan Hayter all set to earn spots. Sivakov was 16th at the Giro d’Italia earlier this year while working for Carapaz but he does have a top-ten in a grand tour to his name, courtesy of a ninth place in the 2019 Vuelta.

“I’d like to be there but we’ll see what the team decides. Personally we have to speak with the team about the plans and goals for the race but personally I’m in really good shape and I would be up for the GC,” he said.

“Also the course suits me well this year with not that many super steep finishes. There are a few but mostly the long climbs are more rolling and suiting my capabilities. We’ll know more in the next few days.”

Few have ever doubted Sivakov’s natural ability on the bike but he has suffered from numerous crashes, illnesses and bad luck over the years. His last GC win before Burgos came at the 2019 Tour of Poland but his form in the second half of this season has seen him reach something close to his best level.

“It’s been a really long time since I’ve won, so it’s been a hard few years but it feels really good to be back on the first step of the podium.”

“This year I had a few setbacks with illnesses, like a few riders did, but honestly I was feeling good going into races like Catalunya and races like this but every time I would get an illness or a few set back and I think that going through the Giro I was on a good level but I can’t say that I was at my best shape. I wasn’t 100 per cent and the weight wasn’t where I wanted it to be. Obviously for a guy like me it matters for me on the higher climbs but over the summer I had a really good camp with the team in Andorra and it gave me a clear run, and finally some good results.”

The win in Burgos not only builds on Sivakov’s palmares but also his growing confidence. His second place behind Remco Evenepoel in San Sebastian at the end of July was just the starting point.

“It’s really good for confidence. I was going into San Sebastian and I was hoping for a good result. I knew the shape was quite good but behind Remco I don’t think that there was more that we could have done. It felt like a win for the confidence and then going into Burgos we had a few cards to play,” Sivakov told VeloNews.

“On stage 3 I went on the long breakaway and that’s where I won the GC. On the final stage I wanted to be up there fighting for the stage win and while I missed a bit it was still a good day.”

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