• Australian cyclist Nathan Hart rides during the 2020 track worlds in Berlin (Getty)Source: Getty
Six debutants are part of the 15 rider track team named for the Tokyo Olympics in the face of the coronavirus pandemic which has already hit an Australian Cycling team staff member, resulting in the implementation of several critical incident measures.
Cycling Central

Cycling Australia
20 Mar 2020 - 3:48 PM 

Cycling Australia has implemented several measures to ensure minimal risk of infection to its Adelaide based track cyclists after a staff member returned a positive test to COVID-19 on Monday 16 March.

Australian cycling staff member returns positive coronavirus test after track worlds
An Adelaide based Australian Cycling Team staff member who travelled to Berlin for the 2020 UCI Track World Championships returned a positive test to COVID-19 on Monday evening 16 March, Cycling Australia has confirmed.

As part of the measures - which include the closure of the Adelaide superdrome from 17-20 March, social distancing, more training outdoors - tests were conducted on three staff and three athletes for COVID-19.

Five returned negative results, the sixth result will not be known for another 24-28 hours. 

"Following a review of this situation," Simon Jones, Cycling Australia performance director said today via an Australian Cycling team statement.

"We are confident that staff and athlete exposure to the infected staff member was extremely low primarily due to a pre-planned staff and athlete break from the Adelaide training environment for the period of 7-15 March."

"On the performance side, we have been proactive in short and medium-term planning with scenario and contingency planning for all high-performance competition and domestic racing and camps with a continuing priority focus on protecting the health of athletes and staff. 

​"We are seeking to provide both a training purpose and appropriate objective setting but also being considerate of the broader global impact of this infection pandemic."

Meanwhile, Cycling Australia yesterday named 15 riders to its Tokyo Olympic track cycling team hoping to compete in early August at the Izu velodrome despite the coronavirus pandemic. 

In addition to six newcomers, two-time Olympians Annette Edmondson and thyroid cancer survivor Matt Glaetzer were also named to the team. 

Glaetzer, Kaarle McCulloch, Stephanie Morton, Nathan Hart and Matthew Richardson, were selected for the sprint events while Edmondson, Ashlee Ankudinoff, Georgia Baker, Amy Cure, Maeve Plouffe, Leigh Howard, Kelland O'Brien, Lucas Plapp, Alex Porter and Sam Welsford will compete in the endurance events.

London Olympics bronze medallist McCulloch, selected to partner Stephanie Morton in the team sprint, said the preparation for her first Olympic Games since 2012 will remain the same despite the coronavirus pandemic. 

"My motto into the world championships was 'perfect preparation doesn't predict'," the 32-year-old said. 

"This is the same kind of attitude I'll be taking with me into Tokyo amidst all the uncertainty and nervousness in the world right now.

"As athletes, we are role models for everyone for health and we are taking quite serious steps in our training to ensure we are being responsible athletes but also people.

One of the debutants announced includes 19-year-old Lucas Plapp who'll also be the youngest in the team. 

“I had a little tear in my eye when I found out I made the Tokyo Team, it was a pretty special moment and I was just speechless,” he said. 

“After the Brisbane World Cup [December 2019] I really started to believe I could make this team.

“I’ve learned so much from [teammate] Sam Welsford from his experiences four years ago and the rest of the team create such a good environment to learn and train in – it helped me realise it’s where I want to be and helped me take my own performance to a new level.

Plapp is looking forward to the monumental task set by the Danish team who broke the team pursuit world record at the recent track worlds in Berlin. 

“It’s a new scenario now to be the hunter and not the hunted, we’ll be using that to our advantage to try to come out and show the world what we’re capable of.”