Rio Olympic officials confident of Zika virus measures in place

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RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Rio de Janeiro Olympic officials are confident that measures in place will protect visitors from the Zika virus when the games open in less than four months.

The focus on Zika returned to the Olympics after United States health officials said enough evidence exists to say the virus causes babies to be born with abnormally small heads.

“We’ll continue to follow the advice and guidance of the World Health Organization to the letter,” Rio spokesman Mario Andrada said on Thursday. “And we’ll continue to keep our partners informed, including the national Olympic committees and the international federations, about information regarding the Zika issue.”

The confirmation by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention came just hours after a team of Olympic inspectors completed their last visit to Rio.

Nawal El Moutawakel, the head of the inspection team, did not get a single question about Zika in a 45-minute news conference.

Rio officials say stagnant water is being drained around venues. Air conditioning will be installed in the athletes’ village, and visitors will be encouraged to use repellent, and wear long sleeves and trousers.

Officials are hopeful the cooler, drier weather when the games open will reduce the mosquito population.

Brazil is at the center of the outbreak, with Rio de Janeiro getting special attention with 10,500 athletes and up to 500,000 foreign tourists expected for South America’s first games.

A top official at the CDC said “there is no longer any doubt that Zika causes microcephaly.”

The CDC said the virus was spread primarily though mosquito bites, but also can be transmitted through sex, and was particularly worrisome for pregnant women.

MORE: First Rio Olympic torchbearer annoucned

2024 Tour de France to end with Nice time trial due to Paris Olympics

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The 2024 Tour de France will end on the French Riviera instead of the French capital because of the Paris Olympics.

The finish of cycling’s marquee race leaves Paris for the first time since 1905.

Tour organizers said on Thursday the last stage of its 111th race will take place in the Mediterranean resort of Nice on July 21. Five days later, Paris opens the Olympics.

Because of security and logistical reasons, the French capital won’t have its traditional Tour finish on the Champs-Elysees. Parting with tradition of a sprint on the Champs-Elysees, the last stage will be an individual time trial along Nice’s famed Promenade des Anglais.

The start of the 2024 race, which will begin for the first time in Italy, was brought forward by one week, a customary change during an Olympic year. The Tour will start on June 29 in Florence.

Nice has hosted the Tour 37 times, including its start twice, in 1981 and in 2020. Two years ago, the start was delayed until Aug. 29 due to lockdowns and travels bans during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Eliud Kipchoge, two races shy of his target, to make Boston Marathon debut

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World record holder Eliud Kipchoge will race the Boston Marathon for the first time on April 17.

Kipchoge, who at September’s Berlin Marathon lowered his world record by 30 seconds to 2:01:09, has won four of the six annual major marathons — Berlin, Tokyo, London and Chicago.

The 38-year-old Kenyan has never raced Boston, the world’s oldest annual marathon dating to 1897, nor New York City but has repeated in recent years a desire to enter both of them.

Typically, he has run the London Marathon in the spring and the Berlin Marathon in the fall.

Kipchoge’s last race in the U.S. was the 2014 Chicago Marathon, his second of 10 consecutive marathon victories from 2014 through 2019. He will become the first reigning men’s marathon world record holder to race the Boston Marathon in more than 40 years, according to race records.

In 2024 in Paris, Kipchoge is expected to race the Olympic marathon and bid to become the first person to win three gold medals in that event.

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