Mikhail Iakovlev, right, has changed allegiance to Israel ©Getty Images

Cyclist Mikhail Iakovlev has switched his allegiance from Russia to Israel, with Russians' inability to compete in international competitions cited as a reason for the change. 

Iakovlev finished behind Dutch riders Harrie Lavreysen and Jeffrey Hoogland in the men's keirin at the 2021 Track Cycling World Championships in Roubaix.

According to Russian channel Match TV, Iakovlev parents said he received a new passport earlier this month and has moved to Israel.

The 21-year-old has also posted photos from Tel Aviv on social media, according to Wielerflits, being seen at the Sylvan Adams Velodrome in the colours of professional cycling team Israel-Premier Tech.

Sergey Kovpanets, the coach of the Russian national track cycling team, said he was disappointed that Iakovlev had left.

"It is a shame that we lose such a talented rider like Mikhail," Kovpanets said to RIA Novosti.

"Everyone makes a choice for themselves. 

"I know that he has tried to register individually for competitions under neutral status, but he has not received an answer. 

Mikhail Iakovlev posted images online wearing Israel-Premier Tech clothing ©Getty Images
Mikhail Iakovlev posted images online wearing Israel-Premier Tech clothing ©Getty Images

"That certainly contributed to it.

"We made many attempts to save the team, including thanks to additional financial means that encourage athletes to win the Russian Championship, set Russian records.

"Nothing foretold such a decision, because at the end of July he competed at the Russian Championship.

"Everyone is free to make their choice, but for us it’s a loss. 

"I didn't talk to him on this topic, he did everything very secretly, in early August he called the President of our Federation and said he was changing citizenship."

Russian and Belarusian national teams have been banned from International Cycling Union (UCI) events in response to the war in Ukraine.

Belarusian and Russian cyclists can still compete for professional teams without references to their nationality.

insidethegames has approached the UCI for clarification on when Iakovlev will first be eligible to represent Israel.