GB rowers pull out of Hamburg meet over E. coli fears

Great Britain's rowing team has withdrawn from June's World Cup in Hamburg due to concerns over the E. coli outbreak in the area.

Hamburg is the second of three World Cup events in 2011 and is due to take place over the weekend of 17-19 June.

A GB rowing statement said: "The decision is based on a risk-assessment relating to the continuing issue of E. coli in the area."

GB won five gold medals at the opening World Cup meeting in Munich last month.

The decision comes after Germany's health minister Daniel Bahr said on Wednesday that he was cautiously optimistic the outbreak had peaked.

At least 24 people have died and 2,400 left infected, while hundreds more have been struck down with a complication that attacks the kidneys, after a strain of E. coli contaminated salad vegetables in Germany.

The origin of the infection, which was first detected on 1 May, has yet to be identified.

With 75% of cases in the north of the country, British Rowing took the decision to pull out of the regatta.

The final stage of the World Cup series will take place in Lucerne, Switzerland on 8-10 July, with the World Championships at Bled in Slovenia scheduled to take place at the end of August.