Dan Craven, the Namibian cyclist whose ‘live tweeting’ while riding the Olympic road race at Rio five years ago went viral, is out of the Tokyo Games after testing positive for COVID-19.
The 38-year-old revealed on social media that he had tried for months to secure vaccination in Spain, where he lives.
To rub salt in the wound, he was finally invited to have it just two hours after learning of his positive test for the coronavirus, dashing his hopes of competing in Japan.
He told The Namibian newspaper: “I have been dreaming about Tokyo 2020 basically since the Rio Olympics ended in 2016.
“I have been working towards it specifically and pig-headedly since the end of 2017 – that's four years now that I've been working specifically towards this goal.
“So, a lot of time and effort and personal finances have gone towards this and it all changed from one little virus.
“I caught the virus on a training ride with three other people – one person had it, but the two other people did not get it. If I can catch the virus on a training ride, I think it’s extremely scary and people really need to be careful.
“I am unvaccinated and that is not by choice – my wife and I are based in Spain, where we have been fighting the system for months,” he continued.
“We have been doing everything in our power to get the vaccine, but the bureaucratic system to get registered has just been crazy and two hours after I tested positive I got a phone call saying I can come in for my vaccine and that was pretty hard.
His place in the team has been taken by Tristan De Lange.
“I'm obviously gutted, but I'm very happy that Namibia could still fill my place and that Tristan got the place, because in the selection races, the national championships and at the Argus Cycle Race, he was really impressive,” Craven said.
“It's been great to see how he has developed over the years and to see his tactical know-how and strength, even though he's mostly a mountain biker and almost never does road racing.
“I think it's just an absolutely beautiful opportunity for someone like him to be able to go to the Olympic Games,” he added.
A procyclist from 2009-17, Craven rode for teams including Rapha-Condor-Sharp, Team Europcar and Israel Cycling Academy, and a six-time Namibian national champion, the last of those titles won in February this year and helping ensure his selection for Tokyo.
As for that ‘live tweeting’ of the 2016 road race? It turned out that the now Mrs Craven had got hold of his phone and taken over his Twitter account, although it took a while for some to cotton on.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.