EF Education-Nippo have sent a notice of termination to Sergio Higuita as they look to end his contract with immediate effect after the rider was filmed on a Specialized bike during a recent event in Colombia.
The climber is currently under contract at EF Education-Nippo and should therefore race and train on a Cannondale road bike. However, with his move to Bora-Hansgrohe set for January, he has been sent a new bike to use during the winter. In footage filmed at the Giro de Rigo, an event created and run by teammate Rigoberto Uran, Higuita is clearly seen on his new Specialized road bike with custom Bora-Hansgrohe colours as he rides alongside Dani Martinez (Ineos Grenadiers).
The decision to ride the Specialized bike would normally fly under the radar and therefore not draw attention – either on social media or from EF Education-Nippo and their partners – but Higuita’s use of his 2022 equipment in such a public event has lead to the American team taking action.
"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," a spokesperson for the team told Cyclingnews on Monday night.
"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."
Higuita, 24, signed with EF Education-Nippo in 2019 and became one of their most successful climbers. He won a stage of the Vuelta a España during his first season on the team and finished second overall in the Tour of California. In 2020 he finished third in Paris-Nice and came close to winning a stage in the Tour de France this summer and delivered a string of top-ten places in the mountains.
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Daniel Benson was the Editor in Chief at Cyclingnews.com between 2008 and 2022. Based in the UK, he joined the Cyclingnews team in 2008 as the site's first UK-based Managing Editor. In that time, he reported on over a dozen editions of the Tour de France, several World Championships, the Tour Down Under, Spring Classics, and the London 2012 Olympic Games. With the help of the excellent editorial team, he ran the coverage on Cyclingnews and has interviewed leading figures in the sport including UCI Presidents and Tour de France winners.