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'Is there a point in putting on an Olympics if several nations can't attend?'

Jack Elton-Walters
23 Mar 2020

Like many of us, Adam Blythe is keen to see the return of normality and with it bike racing, but no one knows when that might be

Chatting to Adam Blythe – over the phone after the press event we were due to meet at was cancelled for obvious reasons – conversation turned to the rescheduling of postponed races and the likelihood of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics being pushed back by a full year.

'It all just depends on the virus,' Blythe says. 'I think it’s not necessarily the case that it’s going to be in Tokyo, the numbers [of cases] might be super-low in Tokyo but at the same time if the numbers are super-high in, say, Colombia or the United States for coronavirus, then the Americans can’t come, the Colombians can’t come so is there really going to be a point in putting on an Olympics where however many nations can’t make it?'

'I’ve no idea really, no one knows when the outcome’s going to be, no one knows what the outcome’s going to be. I’d like to see it [the Olympics held as planned] but obviously we have to stay safe.'

Hopeful for the Tour, keen on an autumnal Roubaix

On the theme of the cycling racing calendar, Blythe is hopeful that the Tour de France will take place in its intended calendar slot and he's open to the idea of an Autumn Classics season including Paris-Rouabix, so long as it's properly planned.

'I think the Tour in the usual slot is possible, it’s achievable. The Giro might not happen [in 2020]. I think moving the Giro to later in the year is very possible but it’s just what will happen after that with the timings and everything,' he explains.

'It’s not easy just to move a whole 21 days of racing six months down the line. We just have to see how this virus goes and the worst is still yet to come for the UK.'

It's worth pointing out that Blythe's comments were made on Thursday last week. Since then the spread of the coronavirus, particularly in Italy, has continued. The Giro has already been postponed but whether it can find a slot later in the year is far from assured. There's certainly still every chance the Tour could take place as planned, although it's fair to say those chances aren't going up as time goes by.

As for a late-season Paris-Roubaix, there are a number of stakeholders to consider but Blythe is optimistic, saying, 'I think if there’s enough planning in advance and the teams all know in advance' then Paris-Roubaix and other Classics can be rescheduled for later in the year.

'I think if they have enough time to prepare for it - it’s not just the riders there’s the staff, mechanics, etc. - then yeah I think it’s possible, I don’t think it’s a bad idea.

'It’ll just be very busy for teams, it’ll be quite a hard thing to organise for them. Especially for the bike manufacturers, it’s not just a case of just giving them a few more bikes: People use special bikes for it [Paris-Roubaix], different wheels and tyres. A lot of it is down to what companies can provide to the teams on time

'But I don’t think it’ll be a bad idea to put it on at the end of the year.'

White shorts: Still a good idea?

On a less serious and non-coronavirus-related subject, Blythe was a keen advocate of white shorts during his stint as British National Champion, but is it a move he stands by now with the gift of hindsight?

'Yeah I think so. For me when I won the Nationals, I wouldn’t necessarily go out and buy white shorts from a shop but that kit you can only wear once for one year – unless you win it again obviously.

'But for me it was just a case of it being truly me and being standout and when you saw that kit, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea but it was special, even if people say it was special in an ugly way it’s still special!

Adam Blythe is supporting the Skoda DSI Cycling Academy that was set up to support aspiring female cyclists and address the gender imbalance in cycling. For more information visit: skoda.co.uk/discover/cycling-academy

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