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Mickael Bourgain in action at the 2008 Beijing Olympics
French track sprinter a controversial inclusion
Frenchman Mickaël Bourgain has apologised to the other members of his Olympic team for pulling out as planned after several kilometers of Saturday's men's road race.
Bourgain, a track sprinter, was added to the French squad under UCI rules which allow the addition of riders from another cycling discipline to the track events. The country had already used its allotment to field its individual sprinter and team sprinters, but chose to sacrifice one spot in the road race to include Bourgain for the keirin, where he is a medal contender.
It was a move which drew harsh criticism from 2008 Olympic pursuit gold medalist Bradley Wiggins, who said his inclusion made "a mockery of our event and our profession.
"I wouldn't dare go up in a sprint against those guys just for the hell of it," he said according to the Associated Press.
Bourgain sent his regrets to France's remaining road race participants, Sylvain Chavanel, Arnaud Demare and Tony Gallopin before the start. "I cannot do anything to help my countrymen. Of course, it is a disadvantage for them to have me in their team, they will be only three. I'll just start the race, do one or two kilometers to stop," he said, according to L'Equipe.