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Page last updated at 12:43 GMT, Friday, 24 September 2010 13:43 UK

Geraint Thomas pulls out of Commonwealth Games in Delhi

Geraint Thomas
Thomas was one of Wales' best hopes for gold in India

Olympic champion Geraint Thomas has pulled out of the Commonwealth Games.

The Cardiff man, 24, was one of Wales' biggest medal hopes in Delhi in the 4000m individual pursuit, the road race and time trial.

"It's a massive disappointment first and foremost but the hygiene and the risk of getting ill, it was a massive risk," Thomas told BBC Sport Wales.

Fellow Team Sky men Peter Kennaugh, Ian Stannard, Ben Swift and Russell Downing have also pulled out.

The riders cited health concerns, including the danger of dengue fever, as their withdrawals were announced.

Kennaugh was due to represent the Isle of Man, while Stannard, Swift and Downing were in the England team.

Another Sky rider, Greg Henderson, has withdrawn from the New Zealand team, but Team Sky insist they have put no pressure on their riders not to travel.

"These situations are down to the choice of the athletes themselves," said principal David Brailsford. "We, at Team Sky, can make recommendations to the athletes but the ultimate decision lies with them.

"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."

August 2010 Sport Wales video feature - Delhi Dreams: Geraint Thomas

Team Wales confirmed on Thursday that they would be travelling to India, despite concerns about safety and the facilities at the venues and athletes' village.

"We are confident in the assurances that have been provided," a statement said.

"The advance party will now be moving into our accommodation and we look forward to welcoming our athletes in the coming days."

And Team Wales captain, weightlifter Michaela Breeze, said she was confident everything had been passed fit for purpose.

"The bottom line is, it's ready and we have got to go and concentrate now on the job in hand," Breeze told BBC Sport Wales.

Thomas struck Olympic gold and helped break the world record when he joined Bradley Wiggins, Ed Clancy and Paul Manning on the track to win the Team Pursuit crown for Team GB at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing - adding to their World Championship title.

I don't have a spleen any more [after a racing crash] and that fights infection

Geraint Thomas

He also won the points race bronze at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne and this year held the best young rider's white jersey during the first week of the Tour de France.

"I don't have a spleen any more [after a racing crash] and that fights infection, so that made it an even greater risk for me [to travel to India]," said Thomas.

"My girlfriend and family were really relieved when I told them.

"It's a massive disappointment, I only get to ride for Wales once every four years, but that's the decision I had to make.

"Team Sky gave their opinion, but it was down to me at the end of the day. I'm just going to have a break now then start building for next season."

Thomas' fellow Olympic gold medallist Nicole Cooke is set to lead the charge for Wales' women as well as contesting the time trial in Delhi.

Delhi Dreams: Nicole Cooke

On the track, Junior World Championships double-gold success Becky James, Jon Mould and Luke Rowe - who has shown glimpses of his talent in World Cup races this season - are the best bets to make an impact.

Both Mould and Rowe will also ride the road, with Rob Partridge another notable racer, while the likes of Jessica Allen, Angharad Mason and Kara Chesworth should provide Cooke with the type of team support the Beijing gold medallist says she has lacked with Wales in the past.

Wales team manager Gareth Sheppard said before Thomas' withdrawal that the squad can deliver in Delhi.

"After the recent strong performances from Welsh riders in both national and international competition, the team pretty much selected itself," said Sheppard.

"All the riders selected have the ability to deliver some very strong performances at these Commonwealth Games.

"Most of the riders selected will still be medal contenders in both 2014 and 2018 so the future really does look bright for Welsh cycling."

Team Wales' Commonwealth Games cycling team:

Name: Jessica Allen
Event: Women's road race
Date of birth: 21 August, 1989
From: Brecon
Achievements: Raced in 2008 World Championships

Name: Yanto Baker
Event: Men's road race
Date of birth: 6 January, 1980
From: Aberystwyth
Achievements: Competed in two Commonwealth Games

Name: Kara Chesworth
Event: Women's road race
Date of birth: 4 January, 1972
From: Tywyn, Gwynedd

Name: Nicole Cooke
Event: Women's road race, time trial
Date of birth: 13 April, 1983
From: Vale of Glamorgan
Achievements: 2008 Olympic and world champion and 2002 Commonwealth champion

Name: Paul Esposti
Event: Men's road race
Date of birth: 1 January, 1972
From: Cardiff
Achievements: Fifth in 1998 Commonwealth Games road race

Name: Alexandra Greenfield
Event: Women's scratch, points, road race
Date of birth: 7 September, 1990
From: Barry
Achievements: Double junior European points race champion and 2009 World team pursuit winner

Name: Sam Harrison
Event: Individual pursuit, team pursuit, points
Date of birth: 24 June, 1992
From: Risca
Achievements: 2009 team pursuit silver at the European junior track championships

Name: Becky James
Event: Sprint, 500m time trial
Date of birth: 29 November, 1991
From: Abergavenny
Achievements: 2009 Double UCI junior track cycling world championship gold

Name: Rhys Lloyd
Event: Men's road race (reserve track tbc)
Date of birth: 23 January, 1989
From: Porthcawl
Achievements: Competed in 2008 tour of Britain

Name: Angharad Mason
Event: Women's road race
Date of birth: 14 May, 1979
From: Bridgend
Achievements: A former triathlete who has represented Wales as a karate black belt before taking up cycling 18 months ago

Name: Lily Matthews
Event: Women's road race
Date of birth: 30 September, 1989
From: Builth Wells
Achievements: The former cross country runner represented Great Britain in the 2009 world mountain biking championships

Name: Jon Mould
Event: Scratch, points, men's road race, team pursuit
Date of birth: 4 April, 1991
From: Newport
Achievements: European madison champion

Name: Lewis Oliva
Event: Sprint, keirin
Date of birth: 23 August, 1992
From: Chepstow
Achievements: National junior keirin title

Name: Rob Partridge
Event: Men's road race, time trial
Date of birth: 11 September, 1985
From: Wrexham
Achievements: Competed at the 2006 Commonwealth Games

Name: Hannah Rich
Event: Scratch, points, women's road race
Date of birth: 3 January 1991
From: Caldicot, Monmouthshire
Achievements: Won National senior scratch race title

Name: Luke Rowe
Event: Scratch, points, team pursuit, men's road race
Date of birth: 10 March, 1990
From: Cardiff
Achievements: Won under-23 World Cup race, second in 2008 European road race championships and won madison and runner-up in team pursuit at 2008 European Track Championships

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see also
Kennaugh pulls out of Delhi Games
23 Sep 10 |  Commonwealth Games
Greene queries Delhi withdrawals
24 Sep 10 |  Commonwealth Games
Wales green light for Games trip
23 Sep 10 |  Commonwealth Games
Photographs expose Delhi concerns
23 Sep 10 |  Commonwealth Games
Athletes' village photos
23 Sep 10 |  Commonwealth Games
Commonwealth Team Wales 2010
15 Oct 10 |  Wales
Delhi Dreams: Geraint Thomas
13 Aug 10 |  Cycling
Thomas wins as Cooke loses crown
27 Jun 10 |  Cycling
Thomas reveals Commonwealth fear
10 Jun 09 |  Cycling
James earns GB place for Worlds
12 Mar 10 |  Cycling
Thomas extends Welsh medal haul
18 Aug 08 |  Cycling
Cooke grabs first GB gold medal
10 Aug 08 |  Cycling
Country profile: India
31 Mar 11 |  Country profiles
BBC Sport Wales coverage
03 Oct 11 |  Wales

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