Uncertainty over quarantine protocols for Tokyo Olympics amid conflicting reports

by Dane Cash

photography by Cor Vos


Uncertainty about the quarantine protocols that will be in place for the Tokyo Olympics is raising questions for riders and teams across the world of cycling amid conflicting reports on how long athletes will be required to quarantine upon arrival in Japan next July.

Het Laatste Nieuws reported on Wednesday that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) had told national Olympic committees that athletes participating in the Tokyo games will be required to quarantine for two weeks upon arrival. If that proves to be the case, it will have major ramifications for the men’s and women’s pelotons, with many star riders likely to have other objectives just before the Olympics that would no longer be possible in the event of a mandatory 14-day quarantine.

As it stands, the men’s road race at the Olympics is scheduled for July 24, the women’s road race for July 25, and the men’s and women’s time trials for July 28. On the women’s calendar, the Giro Rosa is set to run until July 11, among a few other notable events. On the men’s calendar, the Tour de France is set to run until July 18.

In other words, if a two-week quarantine is indeed required for athletes competing in the Tokyo Olympics, stars will have to choose between big objectives, as there would not be ample time to travel between Europe and Japan two weeks before the start of the road events.

The exact details of the quarantine protocol, however, remain unclear, as multiple outlets reported on Wednesday that the aforementioned two-week quarantine requirement is either not confirmed or not set in stone. According to Sporza, the Belgian Olympic and Interfederal Committee’s chief physician Johan Bellemans said that there is a possibility that the quarantine period could be shortened, potentially to five days, as things develop over the next few months.

Wielerflits, meanwhile, reports that it is not known yet whether a two-week quarantine will apply to athletes during the Games come July, and that Japanese authorities have yet to talk to the IOC about the details.

In short: For now, uncertainty surrounds the subject, and it’s not clear one way or the other whether the pros will have to make decisions on skipping the Giro Rosa or the Tour de France to attend the Tokyo Games. Stay tuned for more updates as the rescheduled Olympics approach.

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