Reports from Belgian and Dutch media last week suggested a quarantine would be introduced for athletes in Tokyo, supposedly scuppering the chances of those riders who wished to target both Tour de France glory and gold medals in Japan.
Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad reported that all athletes wishing to participate in the 2021 Olympic Games would have to quarantine for two weeks before competing, and with the road events taking place at the start of the first week between July 24-28, this would come too soon after the end of the 2021 Tour de France on Sunday July 18.
However, when Italian outlet Tuttobici then asked the Tokyo 2020 organisers about this they were directed to a statement made in November by Tokyo 2020 CEO Toshiro Muto saying athletes would not be required to quarantine in order to compete.
Instead, strict rules will be enforced in the Olympic village and training areas. Plans are reported to include athletes not allowed to arrive in Tokyo more than five days prior to their event and to leave within 48 hours after it finishes, in order to reduce the number of people present.
Mathieu van der Poel has long been eyeing the gold medal in mountain biking, scheduled for July 26, and has decided to go all-in with this event by deciding to avoid the road race, which takes place two days earlier.
The 25-year-old Dutchman will combine this goal with his Tour de France debut, telling Sporza “I think I owe it to the sponsors to participate in the Tour”.
In the road race, a course for climbers will offer many of the sport’s stars a chance to take over from Greg Van Avermaet as the Olympic champion of the peloton.
Marc Hirschi has stated his intent to take gold, as have others including Simon Yates and former world champion Alejandro Valverde.