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Four Welsh cyclists withdraw from CWG

india Updated: Sep 24, 2010 09:13 IST

PTI
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There is no stopping individual pullouts from the crisis-ridden Commonwealth Games with four leading cyclists becoming the latest to withdraw citing "fears of catching dengue fever and the unsanitary condition of the athletes' village".

Welsh world and Olympic champion Geraint Thomas, Isle of Man rider Peter Kennaugh and the England pair of Ben Swift and Ian Stannard, said they were opting out of the Games as they feared for their health after reading reports about the dengue outbreak and the "filthy" conditions at the Games Village.

"It's a massive disappointment first and foremost but with the hygiene and the risk of getting ill, it was a massive risk," said Thomas, who competes in the 4,000 metres individual pursuit, the road race and the time trial.

Kennaugh said he had similar fears about competing in the event, the build-up to which has gone from bad to worse due to shoddy construction work and allegations of corruption.

"I have been worried about the situation in New Delhi for some time,particularly since the dengue fever situation became apparent a couple of weeks ago," he said.

"Then, just recently, we have seen the pictures from the village and that made my mind up for me," he was quoted as saying by The Daily Telegraph.

The pictures from the Village showed filthy toilets, stained walls and dirty rooms for athletes adding to the woes of the organisers who are struggling to convince participating nations about the preparations for the Games.

David Brailsford, the performance director of British Cycling, refuted suggestions that the riders had been told to pull out, saying that the decision was entirely theirs.

"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," he said.

The quartet's withdrawal lands another blow to the cycling event in Delhi as Olympic gold medallists Sir Chris Hoy, Victoria Pendleton and Bradley Wiggins have already decided against competing.