Irish cyclist says he got bacterial pneumonia at Olympics

AP News
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Posted: Aug 14, 2016 4:53 PM

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Irish cyclist Nicolas Roche says he developed a serious case of bacterial pneumonia while in Brazil for the Olympic road race and will miss the Spanish Vuelta.

Roche suggested on Twitter he may have gotten sick from a "bad aircon in Rio," though he did not say how he knew his illness was caused by air conditioning. He also did not specify whether it was from a unit in the Olympic village, where he stayed with the rest of the Irish team.

"Riding the Vuelta was a big target for me this year and I was looking forward to being part of the team," Roche said. "The illness couldn't have come at a worse time, really, and after speaking to the medical staff, it's pretty clear that I'm not going to be ready in time."

The Olympic Council of Ireland, the country's Olympic committee, said it was not aware of any medical concerns made by Roche during or after his stay with the team.

"Our athletes are our No. 1 priority and we have not received any complaints," the council said in a statement.

Roche competed in the road race in support of countryman Dan Martin on the first full day of competition at the Rio Games. He finished 29th after dropping a chain on the base of the final climb.

His pro team, Team Sky, confirmed Roche will miss the Vuelta.

The potential for illness has been a major concern in Rio, though mostly because of the Zika virus and water quality.

The Vuelta is the third of cycling's three Grand Tours, following the Giro d'Italia and the Tour de France. And it was the one Roche has been targeting most of the season, building toward not only the Olympics but the mountainous race in Spain.

Roche said he was "gutted" to miss the race, which begins with a team time trial Aug. 20. Doctors have prescribed eight full days of rest before Roche can get back on a bike. He hopes to compete again before the end of the season.

"The Vuelta is a race I really enjoy and one where I have had success before," he said. "I'll be focusing on my recovery and getting back as soon as I can."