Bozeman native van Garderen opts out of Rio Olympics


BOZEMAN, Mont. - Tejay van Garderen is considered the top American cyclist in the world, but he will not be representing the United States in the Rio Olympics next month.

The Bozeman native withdrew his name from consideration last month over concerns that the Zika virus could present risks for his wife, Jessica, who is pregnant with their second child.

Van Garderen said it was a tough decision, and that he would love to represent Team USA, but stressed that his family takes priority in the matter.

The 27-year-old added that scheduling also factored in the decision to skip the Summer Games.

Van Garderen is currently competing at the Tour de France, and is determined to win the event after a heartbreaking finish last year. He was in third place entering Stage 17, but had to pull out after battling a respiratory infection.

The BMC Racing Team member finished fifth in the Tour de France in 2012 and 2014, the best American finishes since 2008.

Van Garderen did represent the United States at the 2012 Olympic Games, finishing 104th in the road race in London. He hopes he can be in a position to race at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

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