Australia’s Olympic hopes were dented Sunday as road cyclist Simon Gerrans withdrew from the Rio Games with an injury and Lleyton Hewitt was set to pull out as tennis coach.
Gerrans, 36, was due to ride in his third Games, but was forced to quit the Tour de France on Thursday after breaking his collarbone in a crash. He later underwent surgery in Spain.
“With my current injury my (Olympics) preparation would be seriously jeopardised, and so too my performance at the Games,” Gerrans wrote in a letter to team officials.
“For Australia to have the best chance to achieve the best result possible, I feel I should be replaced by one of the riders in the squad.”
Cycling Australia will select a replacement rider later this week, the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) said.
Also representing Australia’s men road cycling team are London Games’ track silver medallist Rohan Dennis and Richie Porte, a regular Grand Tour contender. A fourth rider has yet to be named.
Meanwhile, Tennis Australia informed the AOC they would be applying to Olympic chiefs to replace coach and former world number one Hewitt with Mark Draper at the Games.
The formal process was expected to take several days as Draper was currently in the United States, AOC’s Mike Tancred told AFP Sunday.
No explanation was given but the Sydney Morning Herald reported that veteran Hewitt’s withdrawal was due to “personal reasons”.
The news is a setback for the tennis team, with troubled stars Bernard Tomic and Nick Kyrgios already missing from the line-up after withdrawing from the Games.