Rio Olympics: Zika concerns convince Tejay van Garderen to pull out

Van Garderen
Van Garderen was the Tour de France's best young rider in 2012

American cyclist Tejay van Garderen says he will not be competing at the Olympics in Rio this summer because of concerns over Zika.

The virus is linked to serious birth defects and the 27-year-old's wife is pregnant.

"If Jessica were not pregnant right now, assuming I was selected, I would go," he told Cyclingtips.external-link

"But I don't want to take any chances. If anything were to happen, I couldn't live with myself."

USA Cycling is yet to announce its men's squad for the Olympics but confirmed to BBC Sport that Van Garderen had withdrawn from consideration.

Brazilian authorities say there will be no risk to athletes and spectators, except pregnant women, when the Rio Games take place in August.

The infection has been linked to cases of microcephaly, in which babies are born with underdeveloped brains.

The World Health Organisation insists the Olympics do not need to be moved or postponed because of the outbreak, despite more than a hundred medical experts signing an open letter saying it would be unethical for the Games to go ahead.

Fiji's Vijay Singh and Australian Marc Leishman have already announced their withdrawal from the golf event in Rio because of worries relating to the mosquito-borne virus.

Speaking to BBC Radio 5 live on Monday, Great Britain's Olympic tennis champion Andy Murray said he will be seeking medical advice over whether to travel.

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