Paris - Top American cyclist Tejay Van
Garderen will not compete at the Rio Olympics even if selected due to fears
over the Zika virus.
Van Garderen's wife Jessica is pregnant and
the BMC rider, who is likely to be his team's leader at next month's Tour de
France, does not want to take any risks.
Zika is linked to birth defects in babies
and is transferred by mosquitoes.
"If Jessica were not pregnant right
now, assuming I was selected, I would go," Van Garderen told CyclingTips
"But the fact is, she is pregnant. If
we were just going to start trying, I'd say we could start trying six months
after the Olympics. But when she has a baby in her belly, I don't want to take
Zika can also be sexually transmitted,
particularly from an infected man to a woman.
The World Health Organization said on
Tuesday that people who visit Zika-hit areas - such as Olympic host city Rio -
should practise either safe sex or abstain from sex for eight weeks after
returning home to prevent themselves from inadvertently passing on the virus.
Van Garderen was not guaranteed to be
selected by the US Olympic team, although he is a strong time-trialler, one of
the Olympic disciplines.