British cyclists withdraw from Commonwealth Games

British national champion Geraint Thomas (Team Sky)

British national champion Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) (Image credit: Stephen Farrand)

Geraint Thomas, Peter Kennaugh, Ian Stannard and Ben Swift have withdrawn from the Commonwealth Games in Delhi, India, citing the risk of contracting mosquito-borne dengue fever. Approximately 2,000 cases of dengue fever have been reported in Delhi as an extended monsoon, many unfinished construction sites and stagnant pools of water have combined to make an ideal breeding ground for mosquitos.

"It's a massive disappoint first and foremost but the hygiene and the risk of getting ill, it was a massive risk," Thomas told BBC Sport Wales. "I don't have a spleen any more [after a racing crash] and that fights infection, so that made it an even greater risk for me [to travel to India]. It's a massive disappointment, I only get to ride for Wales once every four years, but that's the decision I had to make."

Thomas, a 2008 Olympic gold medalist in the team pursuit and the reigning British road champion, was a big medal hope for Wales both on the track in the 4,000m individual pursuit and on the road in the road race and time trial events.

Wales' Geraint Thomas, Isle of Man's Peter Kennaugh and Englishmen Ian Stannard and Ben Swift are all members of the Sky Professional Cycling Team, but Sky principal David Brailsford told BBC Sport Wales that there was no pressure from the team to withdraw from the Commonwealth Games.

"These situations are down to the choice of the athletes themselves," said Brailsford. "We, at Team Sky, can make recommendations to the athletes but the ultimate decision lies with them. Given the situation they have found themselves in with the Commonwealth Games nobody would blame the athletes for staying away, but there is no instruction from Team Sky on this issue."

Seventy-two nations are scheduled to compete at the Commonwealth Games which begin October 3 and continue through October 14.

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