Mitchelton-Scott's Amanda Spratt says that she's come to terms with the fact that the 2020 cycling season is now going to look very different thanks to the riders' enforced lay-off due to the coronavirus crisis, and that postponing this summer's Olympic Games was the only fair thing to do when there have been athletes throughout the world who've been unable to train properly.
"When I first heard about all the races being cancelled, like the cobbled Classics and the Ardennes, it was hard," admitted Spratt on her team's website on Thursday. "I also felt a bit conflicted in my thoughts. It felt strange to feel so down about it all when there were so many people worse off around the world at the same time due to the virus and the global effect it was having.
"But, at the end of the day, this is our job and our passion, so it's also normal to feel this way, too," she said.
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Spratt said that all the changes have meant that she's had to be flexible and ready to make her own changes when it comes to her goals.
"But I've had so much great support around me, and staying connected with people has made me see the bigger picture as well," the reigning Australian road race champion said. "It's hard to plan too far ahead, and it's so easy to sit here and speculate for hours. I've spoken a lot with my coach, Gene Bates, and I have a plan now that feels exciting and motivating."
Spratt said that while no one really knows when the next race will take place, she'll be planning as if the Giro Rosa [June 26-July 5] is going ahead.
"And if that doesn't happen, I'll move on to further goals in the season. I'm always more of an optimist, and like to be positive, so I prefer to have this mind-set now to help my focus and motivation moving forwards," she said.
'I'm happy that the Olympics have been postponed rather cancelled'
The announced postponement this week of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games – which should have taken place from July 24-August 9, but which will now take place "by summer 2021", according to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) – has also forced Spratt to put her disappointment to one side and consider the bigger picture.
"To be honest, when the announcement was made, it wasn't a surprise," she said. "The Australian Olympic Committee had already indicated as much, and so it felt more like a little bit of relief that the IOC also came to the same conclusion.
"Right now, we're in a global crisis, and it's clear that the most important thing is the health and safety of everyone, and this should always be a priority over any cycling race or sporting event. I think it's really, really important to remember this," said Spratt.
"We can all make a difference by taking it seriously and following the rules, wherever we are, and I think this needs to be the focus now so that we can do everything we can to stop the spread of the virus.
"Obviously, there is disappointment that the Olympics in Tokyo won't happen this year after being such a huge goal of mine, but I'm happy they have postponed the event rather than cancelling it," she continued. "My goals and dreams haven't changed – it's just that the dates have changed, and that's something I'm coming to terms with."
Spratt added that, had the Olympics gone ahead this summer as planned, they may not have been an entirely "fair" Games.
"So many athletes are now in lockdown, and unable to train properly, whilst others can still train outside like normal," she said. "I also think that the Olympics should be a celebration of sport, and a chance to inspire and be inspired. In the current global crisis, this would not have been possible or appropriate."