Team Sky has withdrawn from the Vuelta a Espana following the death of soigneur Txema Gonzalez Friday. The team made the announcement early Saturday morning.
Team principal Dave Brailsford announced the decision, which was supported by Gonzalez' family. The soigneur died at the age of 43 after spending five days in hospital in Seville. He had a bacterial infection which developed into a sepsis blood infection.
“Txema's death is devastating to everyone in Team Sky,” Brailsford said in a press release. “We've lost a good friend, a much respected and valued colleague.
"We have considered all the elements very carefully and this is the only decision we could take. It's the right one; to show respect to Txema and to look after our team.
He added that the family has asked the team to attend the funeral next week, “and we will of course be there to support them and to pay our respects."
Brailsford also noted that several riders and other staff members have become ill during the race due to an several viral infection, which is not related to Gonzalez' illness. "The medical conditions are different but we need to take care of our team." Three riders have already been forced to abandon the race.
"The organisers of the Vuelta and the UCI have both been informed of our decision and we are deeply grateful for their cooperation and understanding.
"We wish all the other teams in the race well and will now take time to deal with this tragic news."