EF Education-Nippo has backtracked on its decision to terminate Sergio Higuita's contract early, with the team confirming that the Colombian will remain an EF rider until the end of the year.
The American team had sent the 24-year-old a notice of termination after footage emerged of him using a Specialized road bike with the colours of Bora-Hansgrohe, the team he'll move to in 2022, at a public event in his home country. EF Education-Nippo riders are supposed to use team-issued Cannondale bikes.
However, the team has since withdrawn their notice to terminate Higuita's contract, following his apology for using the wrong bike in a public setting, an EF Education-Nippo spokesperson told Cyclingnews.
The spokesperson said: “The team has come to a mutual agreement with Sergio Higuita regarding the recent issue at Giro de Rigo and will not end his contract early.
“He has been a steadfast teammate and positive presence, both on the roads and off. We wish Sergio the best in his future endeavours.”
Riding at the Giro de Rigo, a public event in Colombia organised by teammate Rigoberto Uran, Higuita was filmed blasting past swathes of amateurs alongside fellow pro Dani Martinez while using a Bora-Hansgrohe Specialized bike.
EF Education-Nippo claimed that the incident lacked respect, but Higuita's apology has allowed both parties to come to a mutual agreement.
Higuita said: “I wish to offer my apologies to all the sponsors and to the team. I made a mistake in riding the wrong bicycle at a public event, but this is not how I want to leave this team or remember my time here.
“I’ve helped my team-mates to the best of my ability, won some beautiful races, and made friends with the staff and riders that will endure. I’m happy we could come to an agreement, and I wish the team luck in the seasons ahead.”
The Colombian leaves the team at the end of 2021 after spending three years in their ranks, winning Tour Colombia and a stage in the 2019 Vuelta a España during that period.
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