Warren Barguil has been sent home from the Vuelta a Espana by his team after a disagreement over race goals. The Frenchman, who won two stages and the King of the Mountains jersey at the Tour de France, came into the Vuelta as a super domestique, however the rider wanted a free role in the mountains. According to the team this created several disagreements during the race and ahead of stage 8 Sunweb announced that Barguil would be leaving the race immediately.
According to the team, Barguil "openly expressed that he didn't race conform to the team's goal, which left Team Sunweb with no other option than to take this decision."
"Working according to a team plan with clear goals is deeply anchored in the team's way of working. Since 2008 this has been the basis of the gradual growth and success of Team Sunweb, therefore is a value that cannot be varied. The team appreciates Barguil's openness about his motives at the Vuelta."
The team confirmed via a phone call with Cyclingnews that Barguil had wanted a free role to work for himself in the mountains and that this had created several disagreements within the squad.
Barguil was the team's best placed rider on GC ahead of stage 8, sitting in 13th place, 1:43 down on leader Chris Froome (Team Sky). Wilco Kelderman and Sam Oomen were 14th and 15th on GC,1:45 and 2:14 down respectively.
The decision was made last night, 'late in the evening' the team confirmed to Cyclingnews with Barguil informed of the decision moments later.
The team confirmed that there were several instances but admitted that Barguil's decision not to wait for Kelderman after the Dutchman punctured on stage 7 and lost time was detrimental.
"You can see it as a general thing but we have the goal of supporting Wilco for GC in the Vuelta and all the other guys are working towards that. We have a strategy to work towards that but everyone has to move in the same direction," the team added.
"I have to leave the Vuelta by the decision of the team," Barguil confirmed in the statement.
"I feel very well and have good legs. I see myself in different a role and am eager to attack in the mountains, as I did in the Tour. The Vuelta is a great race and it is disappointing to leave but this is a decision from the team that I need to accept."
"I don't understand," Barguil said, according to L'Equipe's website this morning, when asked about the situation by journalists in the team hotel. The newspaper adds that according to Barguil, his attitude on Friday and not waiting for team leader Wilco Kelderman when the Dutchman punctured did not constitute such a serious fault.
It is unclear whether Barguil will race in a Sunweb jersey again. He and the team ended his contract a season early and the Frenchman will ride for Team Fortuneo-Oscaro ins 2018. Barguil was not available for comment when contacted by Cyclingnews. Sunweb did however end their statement by stating: "After the Vuelta, Barguil will pick up his planned race program."
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