German cyclist out of road race after positive COVID-19 test

Posted at 7:04 PM, Jul 23, 2021

In what he described as “a dark day in my career,” German cyclist Simon Geschke withdrew from Saturday's Tokyo Olympics road race after testing positive for COVID-19.

“More [than] disappointed to miss the Olympics tomorrow but also glad everyone else tested negative,” Geschke said on his Twitter account. “It’s a dark day in my career, but I will be back soon later this year hopefully.

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Geschke, 35, was staying with his German road race teammates at a hotel outside the Olympic village. Teammates Niklas Arndt and Maximilian Schachmann still are eligible to start, the team said. But Geschke’s roommate, Emanuel Buchmann, who had previously tested negative, will undergo further tests before being cleared to race.

Other cyclists and team officials, who are also staying at the hotel during the Games, had previously tested negative, but will also undergo further tests.

"That is really bitter, to be taken out of the competition shortly before the race," said Geschke, "I followed all the health rules as best as I could. Physically I feel good but emotionally this is a dark day for me. Now all I have left is to wish the boys tomorrow a very strong race," he said.

This would have been Geschke's second Olympic Games after Rio de Janeiro, where he finished 13th in the time trial but did not finish the road race.

More positive tests

Geschke is the latest of several Olympic athletes to test positive for COVID-19. U.S. beach volleyball star Taylor Crabb also tested positive and his Games are in doubt. Other athletes with positive tests who will miss the Games include:

  • Russian Swimmer Ilya Borodin
  • U.S. women's 3x3 basketball player Katie Lou Samuelson 
  • Former Major League Baseball pitchers Hector Velazquez and Sammy Solis, who were to compete for Mexico
  • Dutch rower Finn Florijn tested positive on Friday after competing in the men's single sculls race

COVID scare for Spain

The Spanish cycling team also suffered a COVID-19 scare on the eve of the 234km race when a masseur tested positive for COVID-19.

Jose Luis Lopez Cerron, president of the Spanish Cycling Federation, said the five-man team would start the race having been given negative results.

"They have confirmed to us that they can ride. We have received great news after the initial scare, we hope that our masseur is well," he told Spanish daily Marca.

Former world champion Alejandro Valverde will lead Spain's challenge for a medal on Saturday.

Information from Reuters was used in this article.