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Simon Geschke has been forced to pull out of the Tokyo Olympics road race after contracting Covid-19.
The German climber was part of a strong four-rider team for his nation, who could be in with a strong chance at victory on the brutal course around Mount Fuji.
On Friday (July 23), the German cycling federation announced that Geschke had tested positive for Coronavirus during a PCS test on the eve of the race.
The 35-year-old said: “It's really tough to be taken out of the race so shortly before the competition. I have complied with all the hygiene rules to the best of my knowledge and belief.
“I feel good physically, but emotionally it's a very black day for me. All I can do now is to wish the guys a very strong race tomorrow.”
Geschke added on social media: “More than disappointing to miss the Olympics tomorrow, but also glad everyone else tested negative.
“It’s a dark day in my career, but I will be back later this year hopefully.”
He is the second rider forced to pulled out of the games after a positive test, following the withdrawal of Czech rider Michal Schlegel, who also contracted the virus.
The German team will be led by Max Schachmann, with Emanuel Buchmann and Nikias Arndt riding in support.
Sports director for the German team, Patrick Moster said: “It's not a good start for our team at these games. We hope, however, that the team around Maximilian Schachmann can still drive a good race tomorrow, even if we will of course miss Geschke very much.”
News of Geschke’s positive came as a member of the technical staff inside the Spanish team bubble had also tested positive for Coronavirus.
The Spanish cycling federation has announced that the Spanish team will still be allowed to race on Saturday (July 24), while the national coach Pascual Momparler will have to undergo further testing as a close contact of the staff member who tested positive.
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Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for CyclingWeekly.com. 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.
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