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UCI satisfied with Olympics postponement 'in the health and sporting interests of the athletes'

Belgium’s Greg Van Avermaet is all smiles after taking the gold medal in the men’s road race at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Belgium’s Greg Van Avermaet is all smiles after taking the gold medal in the men’s road race at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Cycling's governing body, the UCI, said in a statement released on Tuesday evening that it was satisfied that the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games had been postponed due to the coronavirus crisis, "in the health and sporting interests of the athletes, as well as all concerned people and parties".

The announcement of the Games' postponement had come earlier in the day, and was perhaps accelerated on the back of International Olympic Committee (IOC) member Dick Pound telling USA Today on Monday that the postponement was likely to happen, and following decisions by the Canadian and Australian Olympic committees to pull out of the Games' summer 2020 slot were they still to have gone ahead then.

"Cycling, a historic sport at the Olympic Games and the third Olympic sport in terms of medals with its five disciplines (road, track, mountain bike, BMX Racing and BMX Freestyle), has taken important decisions in the same direction over the last few weeks to protect health and ensure sporting equity both in regards its International Calendar and the Olympic and Paralympic qualification procedures for cycling," read the UCI's statement. "Our Federation is in close contact with the IOC to adjust its qualification procedure to the decisions taken concerning the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games."

At the same time, the UCI took the opportunity to state that it was working hard to try to establish a new, rescheduled 2020 calendar for when competition recommences, with particular focus on the Grand Tours – the Giro d'Italia, the Tour de France and the Vuelta a España, with only May's Giro having so far been postponed – and cycling's five most prestigious one-day races, collectively known as the the Monuments, which include the already postponed Milan-San Remo, the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix.

"The UCI is multiplying its contacts with cycling's families [the International Association of Cycling Race Organisers (AIOCC), the International Association of Professional Cycling Teams (AIGCP) and the Professional Cyclists' Association (CPA)] and, as athletes are the focus of our concerns, with our sport's riders' representatives," the statement continued.

"Strong measures must be taken for the resumption, enabling a progressive return to training and competition for the riders while respecting their health and sporting equity. The UCI, together with its partners, will move forward united in the interests of cycling. We will communicate the result of these consultations shortly," it read.