Mathieu van der Poel, Annemiek van Vleuten and Tom Dumoulin react to 2020 Olympics postponement

The Dutch superstars share their thoughts over the major news

Mathieu van der Poel (David Stockman, AFP via Getty Images)
(Image credit: AFP via Getty Images)

Dutch superstars Mathieu van der Poel, Annemiek van Vleuten and Tom Dumoulin have responded to the major news that the 2020 Olympics have been postponed.

This week, the Japanese Prime Minister announced the Tokyo games would be delayed because of the coronavirus crisis, with Olympics now set to take place no later than summer 2021.

While the decision has been met with approval by many, a number of athletes have shared their disappointment over the news, including those within British Cycling. 

Van der Poel, who had planned to ride the Olympic mountain bike event this summer, told Belgian broadcaster Sporza: “It’s very unfortunate that the games have been postponed, but I understand the decision.

"Global health comes first, it is all about sports. On the other hand, I am left with a bad feeling. Four years ago we drew up a plan towards the Tokyo Games and now that plan has been washed away.”

Alpecin-Fenix rider Van der Poel says he may be forced to choose between his debut Grand Tour and the Olympics next season.

World champion Annemiek van Vleuten (Mitchelton-Scott), who crashed out of the 2016 Olympic road race in Rio, told news agency ANP: “Not all athletes will have the same opportunities now.

“It is a good decision. I am happy that we are now free of that uncertainty.”

Tom Dumoulin, silver medallist in the 2016 time trial, added: “It’s understandable that the Olympics are being postponed and it’s good that a decision has already been made at this stage. This provides clarity. It’s too bad for me and many other athletes, but I suppose and I hope that we can look forward to the Olympics in the next year. At this moment, there are more important things in the world than sports."

>>> Indoor cycling app The Sufferfest launches new lockdown training plans and extends free trial 

Dumoulin’s Jumbo-Visma team-mate, Wout van Aert, said: “For me personally, it increases my chances of being selected, because it gives me more opportunities to show myself.

“Now that this wise decision has been made, the different sports also get the chance to amend their calendars. In cycling, that provides the space to reschedule races or to possibly reschedule the Tour.

“So I’m not too disappointed. Hopefully there will be other goals for this year.”

Thank you for reading 20 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Alex Ballinger

Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers.  Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.