Cyclists take stock as Olympic plans shift

Cycling Australia boss Simon Jones won't rush to recalibrate his athletes' programs, insisting they have time to first absorb the likely Tokyo postponement.

Australia's Olympic cyclists have been given the unfamiliar advice to slow down by performance boss Simon Jones before they ponder a potential Games in 2021.

Cycling Australia's (CA) performance director admitted he was shocked but understanding of the Australian Olympic Committee's decision on Monday to plan for the likely postponement of the July-August event.

His first order to cyclists - some of whom had been selected for Tokyo 2020 last week - was to "take stock" and focus on their mental health.

"People will go through all sorts of thoughts and feelings over the next day, week, month," Jones said.

"Some may've been thinking about retiring after the Games.

"Now that's changed our advice is to not make quick decisions.

"We don't need to, we need to look at options and avoid jumping to make decisions."

A 15-strong track team, including six debutants, was named last week but now Jones isn't sure if a rescheduled Games will mean the team is re-selected.

Funding beyond this year and the impact on staff are other unknowns, although Jones did confirm the CA staffer who had contracted coronavirus was recovering well and that no other rider or staff member had tested positive since.

Velodromes in Australia have been closed and one-on-one coaching has been suspended, while riders have been ordered to avoid group road rides in accordance with social distancing measures and European-based riders have been clocking up the kilometres on indoor simulators.

Australia failed to win a gold medal at the recent world championships, an unwelcome 12-year feat that was the by-product of Jones' Tokyo focus.

He said results in Berlin, including three world record marks from Denmark's men's team pursuit quartet, were now "irrelevant" and that they had time to recalibrate for a likely 2021 campaign.

"I probably wasn't in a great spot last night, but with a good night's sleep I can see this being a really great opportunity for us," he said.

"It might sound unrealistic, but out of adversity and disruption for those that are brave and courageous enough, there's a big opportunity.

"And if we're thinking about a Games in the northern summer of next year, that's still 16 months away.

"So we're just trying to slow it down a bit; if we make decisions now they might not be the right decisions in three months."


AAP