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2021 road events to be 'weighted with higher importance' for Australian Olympic selection

Australia's Michael Matthews at the 2019 World Championships road race
Australia's Michael Matthews was one of fewer than 50 finishers at the 2019 World Championships elite men’s road race in Yorkshire, in the UK (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

The Australian Cycling Team has announced that more weight will be given to events in the early part of next season when it comes to road selection for the rescheduled Tokyo Olympic Games – which have been postponed until July 23-August 8, 2021 – while the selection process will remain "frozen" for much of the rescheduled 2020 season, until shortly before the 2020 UCI Road World Championships in late September.

"Cycling Australia will add several races from the 2020 calendar to the Olympic nomination document but races in 2021 will be weighted with higher importance," read a press release on Thursday regarding road-cycling selection for the Tokyo Games, with the qualification period having been suspended since March 3 due to the coronavirus crisis.

"The selection window will be frozen for the majority of the 2020 season and will resume before the 2020 UCI Road World Championships, and will include events up until the end of April 2021."

With regard to mountain-bike nominations, two rounds of the cross-country World Cup next season will help selectors make their final decisions.

"The points awarded at two weekends of the UCI MTB XCO World Cup during the 2021 season will be added to those taken into account in the ranking of 3 March 2020. The weekends are still to be determined and will be communicated at a later date," the statement read.

Performance Director Simon Jones added: "With specific regard to the Australian Olympic Committee [AOC] nomination process, we will continue with our approach to nominate athletes with medal-winning potential as a priority.

"These changes to the qualification window simply mean we have more time to get those nation quotas that will support our medal targets. With COVID-19 looking like it's under control in Australia, we will need to make the best of this situation and work towards 2021 goals," he said.

No team to August's UCI Junior Track Worlds

However, with the Australian government's travel bans still in place due to the coronavirus pandemic, Cycling Australia also announced that it would not be sending a team to this year's UCI Junior Track World Championships, which are set to be held in Cairo, Egypt, from August 16-21.

"It is unfortunate that we have had to make this decision, but the health and safety of our athletes and staff team is paramount," explained Jones.

"As a high-performance network, we will continue to create domestic opportunities for developing athletes as we have done recently with the under-19 individual time trial camp and the High Performance Network (HPN) virtual camps in April," he said.