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Posted on Twitter and apparently filmed from a following team car, the video shows shows Geniez and Denz riding close to the left-hand side of the car, one holding on to the window of the driver’s door, and the other holding on to the roof rack while other riders pedal alongside.
The video appears to have been filmed on stage 15 of the Vuelta a España as the group ascended the gruelling climb to the finish on Sierra Nevada. Both riders finished in a large gruppetto, 26 minutes behind stage victor Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana).
“After viewing the video footage that showed two of our riders intentionally holding onto the team car during the 15th stage on Sunday, September 3rd, the management of the Ag2r La Mondiale team has decided to withdraw Alexandre Geniez and Nico Denz from the Vuelta a Espana,” a team statement said.
“The Ag2r La Mondiale team sincerely apologizes to the organizers and the public for the unsportsmanlike behaviour of our riders, which is contrary to our values and our ethics.”
After being sent home ahead of the stage 16 of the race, both riders took to Twitter to apologise for their actions.
“There is no excuse for it, it was wrong and unnecessary,” wrote Denz. “At the end of the stage after two hard weeks at the Vuelta, through which I fought with bronchitis, I let myself get carried away. It was a mistake and I regret it.
“I made a big error when a held on to the car of my sports director in the final of the 15th stage of the Vuelta,” Geniez wrote. “I apologise sincerely to the organisers and the public, but also to my team-mates for this behaviour which is contrary to the values of my employer.”