EF Education-Nippo has said it will not terminate Sergio Higuita's contract early after coming to a mutual agreement with the Colombian rider, who has apologised for riding the wrong bike at a public event.
The American team earlier this week said it sent Higuita – who is moving to Bora-Hansgrohe next season – a notice of termination after he was filmed on a new Specialized road bike with custom Bora-Hansgrohe colours at the Giro de Rigo event in Colombia. The climber is still currently under contract with EF Education-Nippo so should have been on a Cannondale.
EF Education-Nippo said at the time that the move "lacked respect for the partners that support him today" but that it hoped to work with Higuita to come up with an amicable solution.
Higuita has now acknowledged he made a mistake and the action to cut short his time at the team has ceased.
“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,” EF Education-Nippo said in a statement to Cyclingnews late on Tuesday.
“He has been a steadfast teammate and positive presence, both on the roads and off. We wish Sergio the best in his future endeavors.”
It is not uncommon for riders to privately test new equipment ahead of a new season and before a move to a new team, however, it was the use of this equipment at such a public event that led the team to take action.
“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,” Higuita said.
The 24-year-old is leaving EF Education-Nippo after his third season with the team. He joined the squad in May of 2019 from Continental Team Fundación Euskadi and quickly stepped up, winning a stage of the Vuelta a España and finishing second overall in the Tour of California that year. In 2020 he finished third in Paris-Nice and this year was third on a stage of the Tour de France after being in the break. He also secured four additional top 10 finishes in the French Grand Tour.
“I’ve helped my teammates to the best of my ability, won some beautiful races, and made friends with the staff and riders that will endure," Higuita said. "I’m happy we could come to an agreement, and I wish the team luck in the seasons ahead.”
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