Peter Kennaugh and Geraint Thomas have withdrawn from the Isle of Man and Welsh teams for the Commonwealth Games following the widespread furore about accommodation conditions and safety in Delhi.

The pair both confirmed their decision to Cycling Weekly this afternoon.

Kennaugh also suggested that fellow Team Sky riders Ian Stannard and Ben Swift had withdrawn from the England team.

“Obviously with what’s been going on in the news, we’ve been made to think long and hard about going out there,” said Kennaugh. “It’s not just the structures collapsing and the problems with the athletes villages; for me it’s the health issues.

“I can’t afford to miss a winter off my bike at this point in my career, especially with the London Olympics coming up. For me, this winter is vital for getting back on the track and in the team pursuit team.”

Contrary to reports in Isle of Man media that Team Sky had dictated the decision, newly crowned national scratch champion Kennaugh said: “We talked to a few people but the decision came down to me.”

Team Sky’s Fran Millar said: “We would never force anyone to pull out of a major competition. The decision is entirely up to the athletes.”

Thomas explained that he had decided to pull out this morning after speaking to the Welsh team manager. Like Kennaugh he cited concerns about the mosquito borne illness Dengue fever.

“I was going to be out there for quite a long time doing the track and the road and there’s a high risk of getting ill.

“There will be a lot of stress on top of all the racing and I don’t think anyone can perform at their best in those conditions.

The national road race champion added: “It was a really hard decision to make so I discussed it with staff on the GB team – but it was my decision.

“I really want to ride the Commonwealth Games because I only get to ride for Wales once every four years. But, at the same time, there are bigger things to think about. I can’t wreck my winter and next year.”

Kennaugh, Thomas, Swift and Stannard are all currently competing in the British National Track Championships.

 

  • adam

    I wonder what the cricketers think of all this…? They’re permanently out there and they seem to cope….

  • Shaun Green

    Now Greg Henderson is out – is this all looking a bit ‘Team Sky based’ to anyone else?

  • Shaun Green

    Can’t argue with the balance of views, it is indeed every individuals own decision to make, and Pat, very fair point ref Geraint’s spleen, it was no doubt a factor. I do, however, stand by my original post and think they have made their decisions too soon, and I like to think cyclists are made of sterner stuff.
    As for Hovis’ comment, I am a GB Age Group triathlete and have been in the sport for 14 years, as well as regularly racing as a Cat 3 roadie and time triallist; before that I played football and rugby at a decent level. I have just finished 25 years of service in the Army and remained exteremely fit throughout that time, having been a physical trainng instructor for much of that period – I assure you Sir, I know exactly what it means to push my body to the limit, whether in sport or on the battle field!

  • Chris

    Well said Shaun. Sometimes you have to stand up and be counted. I’ve been to India and suffered (Delhi belly and all that!), but these games are of huge importance to the developing nations, and it would be so easy for individual athletes to sabotage them by their absence. I’d be disappointed if men of spirit like Cav and Dave Millar, so proud to represent their home countries, didn’t go once things have settled down.

  • Pat

    Certainly very understandable in Thomas’s case given that he’s had his spleen removed and will be more susceptible to infection. Surely it’s up to every individual to make their own decisions about risks to their health.

  • Hovis

    So once again people who know very little about what its like to push your body to the limit complain about athletes making sensible decisions about their health. No-one wants the Commonwealth Games to be cancelled or athletes to pull out, but face the facts – its a sham. I wouldn’t expect any of them to jeopordise their health because ill-informed members of the public expected it. If you read the details about the conditions in the village etc and what the guys out there already are saying I don’t blame any of them for putting their health and their future careers first.

  • adam

    There’s been a bit of sniping about whingey athletes .. and the fact that millions of starving Indians live in these conditions and worse all year. I can’t say how sad I was too see that when I was in Delhi… truely eye opening experience. Yes, more should be done for them.
    There’s plenty of discussions to be had about the millions spent on the games and those they kicked aside in order to build new structures… Should this time and money have been spent on helping poor Indians etc etc. And the answer is most definitely yes.
    However, I completely agree with athletes pulling out. The long term effects of illness caught in India are not to be sniffed at.. my colleagues suffered and still are. And if you make your living from your fitness avoiding India is a very sensible option…

  • Nemilho

    There will be alot of people in Isle of Man disappointed with that decision, clearly he doesn’t rate representing his country very highly or he would be there especially when he only has the opportunity to do it at this level every four years.

    Also surely he should have been discussing the matter with his Manx teammates before coming to a decision, not his Commonwealth Games rivals.

  • Paul Watts

    Lets hope Cavendish is not like these two wasters

  • Shaun Green

    This is very disappointing news. I am travelling to Delhi next weekend as a coach for the Guyana Cycling Team, and my partner is riding for the country in the female road race and TT; she is half British and has been given this opportunity and does not intend letting it go so lightly. She also hopes to be on the start line in London in 2 years. I had to go the the Indian High Commission today to get my Visa, and met a boxer from Sierra Leone doing the same. We both agreed that this was more a cultural problem and some of the more developed nations were being a little in their assessments of the Games. I also travelled to Puerto Rico in July to the Cebtral American & Caribbean Games, which itself had issues with the athlete village, but it all turned out well and the overall experience was amazing. I watched Geraint finish in Arenberg in Le Tour this year and cheered him as he was given the White Jersey there. Are you telling me this cycling hard nut who mixed it with the big boys on the cobbles is now shying away from this challenge? Really disappointed.