Danish rider Jakob Fuglsang won't get the chance to avenge his near miss in the 2016 Olympic road race this July after the International Olympic Committee decided to indefinitely postpone the 2020 Games planned for this summer in Tokyo, but the 34-year-old said it is the right decision in light of the ongoing Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic.
Fuglsang (Astana) was second to Belgian Greg Van Avermaet in Rio after making it into a late move that also included Poland's Rafal Majka. Van Avermaet out-kicked Fuglsang for the gold medal after the pair pulled away from Majka near the finish line.
Coming off one of the best season's of his career in 2019, which saw him win Vuelta a Andalucia, Liège-Bastogne-Liège and Critérium du Dauhpiné, among others, Fuglsang was aimed full-speed ahead at going one better this July in Tokyo.
"Of course, it is a pity that the Olympic Games have been postponed," he said in a statement released by his trade team. "It is the biggest and the most important sport event on an athlete’s calendar. I have been preparing for this event since the start of the year, but in this extraordinary situation we are all facing right now, I think it was the right decision, because the health and safety for everyone should be the priority."
Fuglsang started his 2020 season in good form, taking two stages and the overall victory once again in Andalucia, but then the coronavirus pandemic put an end to his plans as races were canceled around the globe. He returned home to be with his family and wait it out.
"As for everyone, the current situation is tough, but we are all in this together," he said. "However, we have to try to stay positive and motivated. I am together with my family and enjoy the time with them. They are my biggest support and I am happy to have some extra time with them."
Fuglsang's next race after Andalucia would have been Strade Bianche, where he finished second last year to Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep) in a dramatic two-up finale in Siena, but the Italian one-day was one of the first races to be canceled.
"After the cancellation of Strade Bianche, I took some days off, made some easy spins and recharged the batteries," he said. "Now I am doing easy trainings, because we don’t know the exact race dates. Of course, to do your training on a roller is different than going for a training ride on the road, but it is all about staying fit and moving your body. Also, our team and coaches are in contact with us and support us."
Aside from keeping the body in shape and maintaining his fitness in anticipation of the season starting up again later in the year, Fuglsang said it's even more important to keep the mind in good condition as well.
"I think the most important thing now is to keep the morale high and to make the best out of it," he said. "I think the family is for sure a very important part.
"I hope everyone stays healthy, and I am looking forward to seeing our fans soon out on the roads."
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