Zika Fears Sideline US Cyclist With Pregnant Wife

Tejay van Garderen won't compete at Rio Olympics
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 2, 2016 12:59 PM CDT
Zika Fears Sideline US Cyclist With Pregnant Wife
U.S. cyclist Tejay van Garderen, right, is flanked by Taylor Phinney at the 2012 Summer Olympics, in London.   (Christophe Ena)

American cyclist Tejay van Garderen has withdrawn his name from consideration for the Rio Olympics amid concerns that he may contract the Zika virus and pass it along to his pregnant wife, reports the AP. He is believed to be the first athlete to back out of the Summer Olympics because of the mosquito-borne illness. USA Cycling spokesman Kevin Loughery confirmed the decision and said van Garderen is the only athlete who has withdrawn from consideration for the US cycling team. USA Cycling is expected to announce its road team June 24.

Van Garderen, a member of the 2012 Olympic team, would have been a likely choice for one of the two US spots. The 27-year-old Tour de France veteran is a strong time-trial rider and his climbing ability would have been well-suited to the hilly course at the Rio Olympics. Van Garderen's wife, Jessica, is due in October. Rio organizing committee head Carlos Nuzman told a meeting of the International Olympic Committee in Lausanne, Switzerland, on Thursday that cases of Zika will significantly drop from June to September. Nuzman said Zika poses "no public health risk" that would warrant calling off the games. (Read more Zika virus stories.)

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