Health and security concerns have made more riders reconsider their participation in the upcoming Commonwealth Games, starting on October 3 in Delhi, India. After Geraint Thomas, Peter Kennaugh, Ian Stannard and Ben Swift of British Team Sky have already announced their withdrawal, their New Zealand teammate Greg Henderson has also cancelled his participation.
Henderson started reconsidering his position on a flight home with his wife from Europe to Melbourne, where he is competing in the Worlds next week. "It's about my family; it's not just about Greg Henderson any more. I've got to think about my wife [former Australian Olympic cyclist medallist Katie Mactier] and little girl Charlie and they don't want me going to the Commonwealth Games," he told BikeNZ.
"Realistically it's probably going to be OK and the Games will go on. But where I am in my career, at the moment the negatives outweigh the pros. There are just too many risks," he added.
After the shooting of two tourists on Sunday, the collapse of a bridge near the main stadium on Tuesday and monsoon floods that have raised the risk of contracting mosquito-borne dengue fever, riders are concerned over their health and security while competing at the Games. Accomodation inside the athletes' village has also been described as "filthy".
Defending champion in the road race, Mathew Hayman of Australia, is also a member of Team Sky but has yet to make a decision on whether he will compete in Delhi.
"At this stage I haven't withdrawn, but I've got some concerns about going," Hayman is being quoted in the Sydney Moring Herald on Friday. "I was reading things about extra security and talk about sniper helicopters (following the race for protection) but it's not really the place you want to be. Hiding in buses and getting to and from a race like that doesn't sound like fun.
"On the other hand I always love representing my country. It's a tough call." The 32-year-old added he wouldn't make a decision about pulling out until after the Worlds.
Other countries like Canada and Scotland have already held back their teams' arrivial in the Indian capital over safety concerns.