EF Education-Nippo are looking to end Sergio Higuita's contract with immediate effect, sending the Colombian a notice of termination after footage emerged of him riding a Specialized bike during a recent event in his home country.
While Higuita is set to join Bora-Hansgrohe in January 2022, the 24-year-old was still contracted to EF Education-Nippo until the end of the year. Their riders are supposed to race and train on a Cannondale road bike.
An EF Education-Nippo spokesperson told Cyclingnews that the team understands the Colombian would prefer training on his new team's bike ahead of the 2022 season, but his decision to ride the Cannondale bike with Bora-Hansgrohe colours in a public event lacked respect.
A diferença dos WORLDTOUR para os demais ciclistas.@HiguitSergio e @danifmartinez96 pic.twitter.com/ADtDXSgQZfNovember 7, 2021
The EF Education-Nippo spokesperson told Cyclingnews: "We recognize Sergio needs time to adjust to his new equipment, as he’s heading to a new team next season. Riders routinely request permission before using new equipment at team camps and in non-public settings, which the team routinely grants.
"Additionally, outgoing athletes can ride unbranded bikes from their new teams after the final WorldTour race of the season, per the current AIGCP/CPA joint agreement contract template.
"However, this was not the case regarding Sergio’s recent decision to ride a bike outside of team issue at the Giro de Rigo, which lacked respect for the partners that support him today. As a result, the team has sent a notice of termination regarding his contract. We ultimately hope to work with Sergio to come to an amicable solution."
The footage captures Higuita using the Specialized road bike with custom Bora-Hansgrohe colours at the Giro de Rigo, a Colombian event run by EF Education-Nippo team-mate Rigoberto Uran.
Consequently, the American team has now issued Higuita with a notice to terminate his contract two months early. He will now be a privateer rider until January 1, when he'll join German team Bora-Hansgrohe.
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