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Pros React to the Tokyo Olympic Games Being Postponed Until 2021

By Monica Buck

For the first time in history, the Olympics are being postponed. The Tokyo Organising Committee and IOC agreed to delay the event by a year until the summer of 2021. Prime minister Shinzo Abe reportedly proposed the postponement to Thomas Bach, IOC president, in a conference call. The reason is the ongoing SARS-CoV-2 pandemic.

Greg van Avermaet at the 2019 UCI Road World Championships. © Alex Broadway/SWpix.com / Shutterstock Editorial / Profimedia

“It’s obviously disappointing to see the Olympic Games postponed as they were a big goal for me this year,” Greg Van Avermaet, the reigning Olympic champion said. “But I completely support the decision as it is clear at a time like this that health and safety are the biggest priority and it wouldn’t have been possible to safely stage an event like the Olympic Games with thousands of people coming from all over the world.”

“I think postponing the Games was the only possible option as we face so many uncertainties in the coming months and it would not have provided a fair playing field with everyone’s preparation and training put on hold right now. Even the selection process for teams would have been impossible. Of course, the postponement means I will be another year older which isn’t ideal but I know I will be as motivated as ever next year.”

Richie Porte and Lukas Poestelberger during stage 19 of the 2019 Tour De France. © Zac Williams/SWpix.com / Shutterstock Editorial / Profimedia

“With the epidemic that is the coronavirus, I think, unfortunately, it is the right decision because we are all on home trainers, swimmers can’t swim in pools and all the other athletes are unable to train properly,” Richie Porte said on Trek-Segafredo‘s website. “It really makes sense that the decision had to be made.”

“We’re seeing people dying and, with the increasing numbers of infections, it’s hard to argue that this wasn’t the right call,” he added.

For some riders, this is more unfortunate than others as Mathieu van der Poel explained to Sporza.be.

“It is very unfortunate that the Games have been postponed. But I under

Mathieu van der Poel at the UCI Road World Championships. © Charlie Forgham-Bailey/SWpixcom / Shutterstock Editorial / Profimedia

stand the decision. Global health comes first. On the other hand, I am left with a bad feeling. Four years ago we drew up a plan for the Tokyo Games. And that plan is basically ruined. It is not easy mentally if you have been working on this for four years but that is the case for anyone who has worked towards a goal in this difficult period in the long term.”

In cycling, no events will take place until April 30 under the UCI’s ruling. And who knows what happens after that. The Giro was already postponed. ASO are going ahead with the preparations for the Tour. It would be great to see that happen. The riders are already coming up with possible alternatives.

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