Olympics-bound Trinidadian Kwesi Browne is recovering well after he was diagnosed with the Coronavirus Covid-19 on Monday, an official of the Trinidad and Tobago Cycling Federation confirmed on Friday.

Trinidadian cycling coach Robert Ferrier is hoping to get his athletes back on track soon as they continue to prepare for the Pan American Championships in May and hopefully, the Olympics in July.

Michael Jordan stunned the world with two simple words 25 years ago.

In an era before innovative social media announcements were the norm, Jordan released a statement through his management company "in response to questions about his future career plans" on March 18, 1995.

His response of "I'm back" signalled the return to basketball of one of the all-time greats.

Here, to mark the anniversary of that press release being issued, we look at Jordan and other greats who performed retirement U-turns.

 

MICHAEL JORDAN

Whether you are an ardent NBA fan or have simply seen Space Jam, you know the story. Chicago Bulls star Jordan retired in 1993 after his team three-peated and shortly after his father's death, stating that "the desire is just not there any more".

For the next year, Jordan turned to baseball as a minor league player as he pursued a dream his father had of his son making it in the MLB. Then, amid rumours he was heading back to the NBA, came that Jordan utterance: "I'm back". 

The Bulls, led by perhaps the greatest ever, would win three successive championships again between 1996 and 1998 at which point Jordan retired once more. He then came back for a two-year stint with the Washington Wizards before finally calling it a day once and for all in 2003.

 

MICHAEL SCHUMACHER

Seven-time Formula One champion Schumacher was 37 when he announced the 2006 season - when he was pipped to the title by Fernando Alonso - would be his last.

However, he remained around F1 as an advisor for Ferrari and returned for Mercedes to race in 2010 saying: "I have the energy back."

He would appear on the podium just once across three seasons, though, and he retired again in 2012, a year before he suffered severe head injuries in a skiing accident.

 

KIM CLIJSTERS

A former world number one and the 2005 US Open champion, Clijsters retired at the age of 23 due to a series of punishing injuries.

Clijsters got married and gave birth in her time away from sport, and then after appearing in an exhibition match held at Wimbledon in 2009, the Belgian returned to the WTA Tour. In just her third tournament back, Clijsters won the US Open, becoming the first unseeded woman to win the tournament in the Open era and the first mother to win a grand slam since 1980.

She triumphed at Flushing Meadows again in 2010 and won the Australian Open in 2011, recently returning to tennis for a third time after a seven-year hiatus.

LANCE ARMSTRONG

American Armstrong retired as a seven-time Tour de France champion in 2005. But the story, of course, didn't end there.

Dogged by doping allegations during his career, Armstrong faced questions again when he returned, aged 37, in 2009 and finished third in that year's Tour.

Armstrong retired once more in 2011 while he was the subject of a federal investigation into doping allegations. Another probe from the United States Anti-Doping Agency led to charges which resulted in Armstrong being stripped of his seven Tour titles in 2012, with the cyclist publicly coming clean on his doping the following year.

 

GEORGE FOREMAN

There was a full decade between Foreman's 47th and 48th fights.

He lost on points to Jimmy Young in 1977, falling ill in the dressing room after the bout and suffering what he said was a near-death experience, leading him to find God.

A born-again Christian, Foreman returned at 38. Despite defeats to Evander Holyfield and Tommy Morrison in title bouts, Foreman would become heavyweight champion of the world again in 1994 - at the grand old age of 45 - by stopping Michael Moorer.

BRETT FAVRE

Long-time Green Bay Packers quarterback Favre, the king of indecision, bowed out from the NFL in March 2008, passing the baton to a certain Aaron Rodgers. However, he had a change of heart four months later. The Packers, who wanted to move on with Rodgers, traded Favre to the New York Jets.

After one season with Gang Green, Favre retired again. And then he performed another U-turn, paving the way for him to join the Minnesota Vikings, one of Green Bay's arch-rivals.

He enjoyed by far the best year of his career with the Vikings in terms of quarterback rating (107.2) but Minnesota lost the NFC Championship Game. More indecision followed after that, though 2010 would prove to be the final year of a Hall of Fame career.

All road cycling events until at least the end of April have been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Union Cycliste International (UCI) announced on Wednesday.

Just three days after announcing a suspension on all events until April 3, the UCI extended the hiatus in the calendar following a meeting with race organisers, teams and riders.

The resumption date will be reviewed during the intervening period, with events on the calendar at that point, the three Grand Tours and the sport's Monuments to be given priority in any rescheduling procedure.

The Giro d'Italia, which was due to start on May 9, has already been postponed, while the Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix and Liege-Bastogne-Liege - three of the five Monuments - will no longer take place as planned.

A UCI statement read: "With this decision, cycling wishes to be able to guarantee the visibility of our sport, which will find itself in competition with other major international sports events, while ensuring the best possible exposure for the most-viewed races.

"Moreover, the UCI would like to make clear that the men and women's road season may be extended until November 1, 2020.

"The principle of flexibility could also be envisaged when it comes to the number of cyclists entered by teams at events.

"These decisions will be submitted to the UCI management committee and the Professional Cycling Council (PCC) for approval.

"Finally, the UCI proposed that cycling's stakeholders hold regular meetings to better anticipate the resumption when the time comes.

"For disciplines other than road, the UCI will make a detailed announcement at a later date."

Mitchelton-Scott, Movistar, Astana and Jumbo-Visma were among a host of teams to pull out of races at the start of March due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The world's leading sporting competitions have been halted amid the coronavirus pandemic.

With almost 160,000 confirmed cases of the virus and close to 6,000 deaths, athletes across the globe are waiting to learn when they will return to work.

We take a look at the provisional return dates set out so far.
 

BASKETBALL

The NBA came to a sudden stop when a Utah Jazz player - later revealed to be Rudy Gobert - tested positive on Wednesday, and league commissioner Adam Silver warned the hiatus would "be most likely at least 30 days".

CRICKET

International cricket has been pushed back, but there are no firm dates as things stand for rescheduled matches. England's two-match Test tour of Sri Lanka was called off midway through a warm-up match, while the ODI series between India and South Africa was postponed after the first of three matches was washed out. Australia won an opening ODI against New Zealand behind closed doors, but the remaining two 50-over matches were delayed, along with a three-match Twenty20 series. There is at least a provisional date for the Indian Premier League to belatedly start: April 15, pushed back from March 29.

FOOTBALL

European football is at a standstill, with the Champions League among the elite-level competitions suspended. UEFA is set to meet to discuss the future of that tournament and Euro 2020 this week, while FIFA has advised postponements of upcoming international fixtures, for which clubs are no longer required to release their players. The Premier League, LaLiga and Serie A are all paused at least until April 3 although the Bundesliga has only called off one matchweek as things stand, while Ligue 1 is off "until further notice".

GOLF

The PGA Tour initially announced a three-week suspension, with The Players Championship stopped after its opening round. The Masters - won in 2019 by Tiger Woods - was therefore set to mark the Tour's return on April 9, but organisers soon announced the first major of the year would also be postponed. The RBC Heritage on April 16 is the next scheduled tournament. Organisers are planning "regular status updates in the coming weeks" amid "a very fluid situation that requires constant review, communication, and transparency".

MOTORSPORT

The Formula One season is still to start after races in Australia, Bahrain, Vietnam and China were postponed or cancelled. The Dutch Grand Prix on May 3 remains on at this stage, however, while managing director of motorsports Ross Brawn has suggested the calendar could be reshuffled, with races held in August. NASCAR has postponed events in Atlanta and Miami this and next weekend, and all IndyCar Series races through April have been cancelled.

RUGBY

Rugby league has largely been able to continue both in England and in Australia, but the same is not true of rugby union. Six Nations matches were among the first to fall by the wayside amid the crisis in Italy, with the Azzurri seeing matches against both Ireland and England postponed until later in the year. France versus Ireland was off, too, while Scotland's trip to Wales belatedly followed suit. Club action has ground to a halt, with Super Rugby finally paused this weekend and no return imminent.

TENNIS

After Indian Wells and then the Miami Open were cancelled, the ATP Tour announced its suspension up to and including the week of April 20. The WTA Tour preferred to call off individual events, but the schedule is now clear for five weeks. It was still to make a decision on the European clay-court season. The Fed Cup finals and play-offs - set for mid-April - have been pushed back, meanwhile, with the ITF vowing to address any impact the postponement may have on players' eligibility for Tokyo 2020.

OTHERS

Despite chaos surrounding various sports across the globe, Japan's prime minister Shinzo Abe says the country is still planning for the Olympic Games in Tokyo to go ahead as scheduled in July. The London Marathon and the Boston Marathon will both still go ahead this year, but with revised dates of October 4 and September 14, respectively. The Giro d'Italia will be postponed and a new date for the race will not be announced until at least April 3 when a decree in Italy banning sport ends. The NBA is not the only American competition to be disrupted, meanwhile, with the 2020 MLB season moved back "at least two weeks" from March 26, and the NHL campaign paused indefinitely.

Nairo Quintana has set his next target as returning to Colombia to be with his family after he won the final stage of the shortened Paris-Nice race.

Arkea-Samsic rider Quintana launched a late attack in the closing four kilometres, crossing the line 47 seconds ahead of Tiesj Benoot.

It means Quintana – who crashed in stage two – finished sixth in the general classification, with Max Schachmann having maintained his overnight lead to claim the overall triumph.

With Sunday's stage cancelled due to the spread of coronavirus, French rider Romain Bardet criticised race organisers, claiming he could not understand why Saturday's event was going ahead.

After the race's completion, Quintana also referenced his concerns over the ongoing pandemic, acknowledging his main focus was now on being with his family.

"Now we'll try to return to Colombia, spend time with the family while this important problem for the world is resolved," the 30-year-old told reporters.

"We are aware of what is happening, we've finally finished and we will also be quarantined so that this virus does not continue to spread.

"We have to listen to the authorities so that this does not get out of hand and we can all return to work soon."

Despite a difficult start to the event, Quintana was thrilled to have finished on a high with a third stage win of the season.

"I always try to win like this, with elegance and a good attitude," he added. "We were highly motivated to do things well and have been working hard.

"The team worked hard to catch the break and then I did what I had to do. There was nothing I could do for the GC, so I knew I had to attack today, because I wanted to bring joy to the team, because of the effort that everyone has made. It is a gift for all of them. I always demand a lot, but here are the results."

While the stage belonged to Quintana, it was Schachmann who claimed the general classification victory.

Team Sunweb's Benoot started the day 36 seconds behind Schachmann, who also had to deal with challenges from Vincenzo Nibali, Thibaut Pinot and Sergio Higuita.

With Quintana already far up ahead, Benoot rolled the dice with just over 1,000m to go, and although he established a gap, Schachmann piggie-backed onto Higuita's chase to ensure an 18-second winning margin.

"It was a really hard finish, in the last three kilometres I worked through hell and a world of pain," Schachmann said.

"But now it's like being in heaven. Every little bit of pain in my legs was worth it. This is one of the biggest wins of my career and one of the most important steps."

The sporting calendar over the next few weeks looks extremely bare as events continue to be postponed or cancelled as a result of the threat of the coronavirus.

All of Europe's top five leagues have now been suspended, as the Bundesliga followed Serie A, LaLiga, Ligue 1 and the Premier League in calling a halt to proceedings just hours before its latest round of fixtures was due to kick off.

Golf's first major, the Masters, will not take place on April 9 as initially scheduled, while the Giro d'Italia, the final Six Nations match between Wales and Scotland, and marathons in London and Boston have all been affected by COVID-19, too.

With the number of confirmed cases worldwide now totalling over 140,000, we take a look at the latest round of postponements.

 

After the PGA Tour cancelled all events leading up the Masters, all eyes were on whether the prestigious event at Augusta National Golf Club would be called off until further notice. That news arrived on Friday, with organisers saying it was "appropriate under these unique circumstances".

With around four hours to go before the first Bundesliga game of matchday 26, the league was finally suspended due to the growing number of COVID-19 cases in Germany.

Defender Timo Hubers, who plays for 2. Bundesliga side Hannover, was one of the first players across Europe to test positive for the virus, and Paderborn, who had been due to Fortuna Dusseldorf on Friday night, were waiting on tests results for their players when news came down from the league.

Clubs will meet again on Monday, with the league advising a suspension until April 2.

World Cup qualifiers in Africa were suspended, while European clubs such as Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona have stopped their players from training at their facilities for the time being.

As Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba encouraged people to "dab to beat coronavirus" and Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp backed the decision to postpone the Premier League, Serie A clubs Sampdoria and Fiorentina reported positive cases involving their players in Italy, one of the worst-affected countries.

The country's major cycling race, the Giro d'Italia, will not begin as scheduled on May 9 as Hungary said it was unwilling to host the first three stages. The whole race was subsequently postponed.

Six Nations contest between Italy and England in Rome, originally slated for Saturday, had already been called off, and the only fixture of the tournament not to be postponed was put back indefinitely on Friday. Wales' clash with Scotland in Cardiff was finally called off the day before it was set to take place, while Sunday's Premiership Rugby Cup final between Sale Sharks and Harlequins has also been postponed.

South Africa's ODI tour of India will be rescheduled for another time, the first match having been washed out on Thursday, while the Boston Marathon will now take place on September 14. The new date for the London Marathon is October 4.

Elsewhere, NASCAR has postponed races in Atlanta and Miami over the next two weekends. Those races were initially going to be held without fans. All IndyCar Series races through April have been cancelled.

The Giro d'Italia has been postponed after Hungary said it was no longer prepared to host the first three stages.

Organisers RSC Sport confirmed the race would not begin as scheduled on May 9.

Friday's announcement has long seemed inevitable, with Italy having been hit hard by the coronavirus crisis. As of Friday, the country has seen 15,113 confirmed cases and 1,016 deaths.

A statement from RSC Sport said: "Due to the spread of the coronavirus, the Hungarian government has declared a state of emergency which prohibits the organisation of mass events and makes it impossible to organise international events.

"Consequently, the organising committee of the Hungarian stages of the Giro d'Italia declared the impossibility of hosting the start of the 'race for pink' in Hungary on the dates initially scheduled.

"The two sides reiterated their determination to work together to allow the Giro d'Italia to depart from Hungary at a later date.

"Given the national and international situation, RCS Sport announces that the start of the 2020 Giro d'Italia is postponed.

"The new date will be announced no earlier than April 3 when the provisions of the prime ministerial decree of March 4 2020 end, and after the organisation has dealt with the government, local and territorial authorities and Italian and international sport institutions."

The race had been due to begin in Budapest and end on May 31 in Milan.

Hungarian politician Mariusz Revesz, a government commissioner, revealed earlier on Facebook the news that the country would not be taking up its chance to host the early stages of the prestigious race.

He wrote: "Due to the serious epidemic situation in Europe, it will not be possible to organise the first three phases of the Giro d'Italia in Hungary in May 2020, the Grande Partenza.

"Over the past three weeks, there have been several meetings between Hungarian and Italian organizers, and the Hungarian organising committee has repeatedly stated that competition should not endanger the safety and health of Hungarian people.

"Unfortunately, in Italy, the epidemic has become more severe day by day, and the number of illnesses and casualties has continued to rise, with the result that the Italian government has announced a nationwide quarantine.

"Meanwhile, the virus has reached Hungary, and in order to curb the epidemic, the Hungarian government has declared a state of emergency, which prohibits the organisation of more popular sports events and makes it impossible to organise international events."

All sporting activity in Italy has been suspended until April 3 by the Italian National Olympic Committee (CONI) due to the coronavirus spread, with football set to be the most-impacted sport.

The CONI announcement on Monday confirmed a suspension, subject to government ratification, that many had expected.

Serie A and the Coppa Italia had already been heavily affected by postponements and matches being played behind closed doors, with Sunday's Derby d'Italia played in front of an eerily empty stadium.

A government decree had already confirmed there were to be no spectators at any sporting events until April 3, but the latest announcement followed a significant increase in coronavirus cases, with 7,375 Italians having been infected.

Many wider sporting events in Italy had already been postponed, but the suspension is arguably set to have the biggest knock-on effect in football, as it throws the Serie A title race – and relegation tussle – into chaos due to an ever-growing fixture pile-up.

Following Monday's news, here are the biggest clubs' Serie A and Coppa Italia matches set to be affected:

Juventus:

Bologna v Juventus, March 13

Juventus v Lecce, March 21

Juventus v Milan (Coppa Italia semi-final second leg), TBC

Lazio:

Atalanta v Lazio, March 15

Lazio v Fiorentina, March 20

Inter:

Inter v Sassuolo, March 15

Parma v Inter, March 22

Napoli v Inter (Coppa Italia semi-final second leg), TBC

Milan:

Lecce v Milan, March 15

Milan v Roma, March 22

Juventus v Milan (Coppa Italia semi-final second leg), TBC

With no matches set to take place until April 3, a deadline that could feasibly be pushed back even further, teams will resume the Serie A season with between 12 and 14 matches still to play.

With Euro 2020 set to begin on June 12, it leaves just 70 days between the two key dates, though facilities will have to be handed over to UEFA well before the tournament's kick-off.

If Champions League and Europa League matches continue to go ahead as planned, some Italian teams could have many as 20 matches across all competitions to cram into their schedules.

Juventus lead the way in Serie A on 63 points, and look set to be pushed the distance by Lazio. The Rome-based club are just a point shy, while Inter have fallen adrift of the top by nine.

Among the wider sporting events previously postponed through March and early April were: 

CYCLING

Tirreno-Adriatico, March 11-17

Milan-San Remo, March 21

Giro di Sicilia, April 1-4

SKIING

Alpine Skiing World Cup finals, March 18-22

RUGBY UNION

Italy v England, March 14

Team INEOS have withdrawn from racing until March 23 following the sudden death of sport director Nicolas Portal, although the team also cited fears amid the coronavirus crisis.

Former rider Portal passed away on Tuesday aged only 40, having reportedly suffered a heart attack at his home in Andorra.

Following the news, INEOS announced on Wednesday the cycling team would be out of action until the Volta a Catalunya later this month.

They will not compete in the Strade Bianche, Paris-Nice, Tirreno-Adriatico, Milan-San Remo, Nokere Koerse or Bredene Koksijde Classic, although some races are in doubt due to the coronavirus.

The virus has seen a decree in Italy that means the public cannot attend sporting events for 30 days, with Serie A football matches to be played behind closed doors.

Organisers of the Tirreno–Adriatico and Milan-San Remo races confirmed updates would follow in the coming days after meetings with the authorities, with 2502 cases and 80 deaths in Italy.

INEOS highlighted both Portal's death and the virus concerns in a statement that listed reasons for the team's temporary absence.

Team boss Dave Brailsford said: "This is a uniquely sad moment for everyone at the team. We have lost someone we all loved very much and are all grieving for Nico.

"I would like to thank everyone for their messages following the tragic news yesterday. They have really meant a lot to us all as we try to come to terms with this terrible news.

"Nico meant the world to us as a team and it is genuinely touching to know how much he also meant to everyone else across the sport.

"We are taking this decision to put a temporary pause on racing today because of this unique set of circumstances we are facing. It is right for the team given what has happened but I also believe it is in the best interests of both cycling and the wider public. 

"Cycling is a uniquely mobile sport. We have a duty of care both to our riders and staff but also to the people living in the areas where we race.

"We do not want to be in a position where our riders become potentially infected or quarantined on race as has already happened.

"Equally we are acutely aware that these are difficult times for all local health services and we do not want to put any additional pressure or burden whatsoever upon them when all their focus should rightly be on their own local population."

Mitchelton-Scott have likewise withdrawn from racing for the time being, with UAE Team Emirates, Groupama-FDJ, Cofidis and Gazprom-RusVelo still quarantined after the final two stages of the UAE Tour were cancelled.

Team INEOS have announced that sport director Nicolas Portal died suddenly on Tuesday aged only 40.

Former rider Portal reportedly suffered a heart attack at his home in Andorra.

The popular Frenchman ended his racing career in 2010 due to cardiac arrhythmia, but remained with Team Sky after retiring.

Portal oversaw Chris Froome's four Tour de France triumphs and played his part in Egan Bernal winning the yellow jersey last year after Team Sky became Team INEOS.

A Team INEOS statement said: "It is with the greatest sadness that we announce the passing of our much loved team-mate, colleague and friend Nico Portal who died suddenly this afternoon at his home in Andorra.

"We are all overcome with grief at this terrible news and would ask everyone to respect the family's privacy at this difficult time. 

"RIP Nico - your spirit will always be with us on the road and you will forever be in our hearts."

Froome was among the riders to pay tribute to Portal.

He tweeted: "My thoughts are with Nico's wife and children tonight. He was the kindest, happiest guy I knew and always lived life to the fullest. Rest In Peace Nico."

Portal competed in seven Grand Tours and won a stage at the 2004 Criterium du Dauphine before such a successful career off the bike.

Emma Hinze gave the Berlin crowd a dream finish to the UCI Track Cycling World Championships by winning her third gold medal of the competition.

The 22-year-old lit up day five with victory in the women's keirin final, which followed up her women's pprint crown and her involvement in Germany's team sprint triumph.

Hinze beat South Korea's Lee Hye-jin and Australia's Stephanie Morton into second and third respectively in the last event of the 2020 championships.

Three other events reached their conclusion on the final day, with Great Britain winning their first gold when Elinor Barker triumphed in the points race.

The men's Madison saw Denmark come out on top ahead of New Zealand and hosts Germany. 

Michael Morkov, who spent 34 hours in isolation earlier this week as a precaution relating to the coronavirus, was in the winning team.

He was given the all-clear to compete following his involvement in the UAE Tour, which was cancelled when two managers of a team at the event had suspected cases of the virus.

Men's sprint honours, meanwhile, went to Harrie Lavreysen, who defended his title by beating beat fellow Dutchman Jeffrey Hoogland in the gold medal race. 

Chloe Dygert twice smashed her own world record en route to a storming triumph in the women's individual pursuit at the UCI Track Cycling World Championships.

The American provided a memorable moment on day five in Berlin, winning the gold medal in a mightily impressive time of three minutes and 16.937 seconds.

Dygert, who was world champion in the same event two years ago, had earlier set a new benchmark on her world-record time set in Apeldoorn in 2018 during qualifying.

German duo Lisa Brennauer and Franziska Brausse took silver and bronze respectively.

Benjamin Thomas of France earned 158 points to take out the men's Omnium world title. Jan-Willem van Schip of Netherlands and Britain's Matthew Walls were second and third.

Lea Sophie Friedrich was the victor of the women's 500 metre time trial, while Dutch duo Kirsten Wild and Amy Pieters triumphed in the women's Madison with 36 points. 

Yumi Kajihara claimed gold in the women's omnium at the UCI Track Cycling World Championships after four-time Olympic gold medallist Laura Kenny suffered a nasty crash in the first race.

Kenny was caught up in a crash that involved five riders during the opening scratch race and required stitches to her right eye.

She could only manage 12th in the overall standings at the end of the closing points race, with Kajihara able to celebrate a world title as she beat Letizia Paternoster and Daria Pikulik to gold.

Emma Hinze gave the home fans in Berlin more to celebrate as she added gold in the sprint to the title she won for Germany in the team sprint.

Hinze overcame Russia's Anastasiia Voinova in the gold medal race, with Lee Wai Sze beating Mitchell Kelsey to bronze.

Ganna Filippo claimed gold for Italy in the men's individual pursuit, while Dutchman Sam Ligtlee won the 1km time trial.

 

Denmark shattered their own world record to become men's team pursuit world champions, while Yauheni Karaliok regained his title in the scratch race on Thursday.

The Danish pursuiters continued a dream UCI Track Cycling World Championships by becoming the first team to go under three minutes and 45 seconds.

Lasse Norman Hansen, Julius Johansen, Frederik Rodenberg Madsen and Rasmus Pedersen romped home in a time of three minutes and 44.672secs in Berlin, knocking eight tenths of a second off their qualifying time that had also set a new benchmark.

New Zealand clinched the silver medal, while Italy topped Australia in the battle for bronze.

In the women's team pursuit, the United States stormed to victory in the final over Great Britain.

Meanwhile, Karaliok reigned supreme in the men's scratch to become world champion in the event for the second time.

The Belarusian, who first became scratch world champion in 2018, broke away with Sebastian Mora – who eventually finished third behind Simone Consonni.

Harrie Levreysen flew to gold in the men's keirin, the Dutchman taking first place ahead of Yuta Wakimoto of Japan.

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