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Spratt re-sets focus after Olympic postponement

Spratt and van Vleuten pleased that Games will be postponed to a time where riders are able to train properly to allow level playing field.

Like everyone else, Amanda Spratt‘s Olympic dream for 2020 is over before it got going.

Having set the Olympic road race as a major focus of her 2020 season, the Australian was disappointed to learn of the postponement of the Tokyo Games this summer, but accepts that it was inevitable.

“To be honest when the announcement was made it wasn’t a surprise,” Spratt said in a release from her Mitchelton-Scott team this week. With Australian athletes having been told by their national Olympic committee to schedule their training in anticipation of the Olympic Games taking place in 2021 just day’s before, the official postponement, Tuesday, came as “a little bit of relief ” for the 32-year-old.

“My goals and dreams haven’t changed, it’s just that the dates have changed – and that’s something I’m coming to terms with,” Spratt said.

“It was also becoming clearer over the last few weeks that even if the Olympics had taken place it would not have been a fair Olympic games,” she said. “So many athletes are now in lockdown, unable to train properly whilst others can still train outside like normal.”

Next in Spratt’s eyeline is the Giro Rosa. Having placed third in both the 2018 and 2019 edition, the Italian race always forms a focal point of the 32-year-old’s season. The Italian race is currently scheduled to go ahead from June 26. However, like the men’s Tour de France, which starts just a day afterward, there are still question marks over whether it will go ahead as planned.

“We don’t know really when the next race will be, but I will plan as if the Giro Rosa can be on and if that doesn’t happen, I will move onto further goals in the season,” Spratt said. “I am always more of an optimist and like to be positive so I prefer to have this mindset now to help my focus and motivation moving forwards.”

Reigning Giro Rosa champion and world road race champion Annemiek van Vleuten echoed Spratt’s sentiment that the postponement of the Games was inevitable, and that the delay would allow for a fairer playing field.

“Athletes are stuck inside and can’t train properly, I want to enjoy the Olympics and know it is a fair Olympics Games – one where everybody is able to have a normal preparation,” van Vleuten said.

Van Vleuten had been training at the top of Mount Teide, Tenerife, when the coronavirus crisis led to a wave of travel restrictions across Europe. Having abandoned the camp early, she has since been participating in Zwift rides hosted by her Mitchelton-Scott team.

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The Dutch veteran had been leading the race at the 2016 Games in Rio before a horrific crash on a greasy descent left her with fractures in her spine. She will be 38 by the time the 2021 Games roll around, but as her epic solo victory in the 2019 world championships proved, age is no barrier as she continues to go from strength to strength.

“I also think it is much better for global health to postpone the Games until 2021 rather than trying to host an Olympics this year at a later date,” van Vleuten said. “Global health is the most important thing I am concerned about right now.