EF Education-Nippo’s Sergio Higuita fired for riding Specialized bike
Higuita and compatriot Dani Martinez seen in viral video flying past Giro de Rigo climbersPhoto by: Sirotti
On Sunday and Monday Cycling Twitter was in awe of a viral video depicting two Colombian WorldTour professionals, Sergio Higuita and Dani Martinez, clad in their respective EF Education-Nippo and Ineos Grenadiers togs, blasting by yellow-clad climbing cyclists in the Giro de Rigo, a closed-road gran fondo organized by Higuita’s teammate Rigoberto Uran. But there was one problem: while Martinez was speedily ascending on his team’s Pinarello bike, Higuita wasn’t riding a EF Education-Nippo Cannondale. Instead, he was on the machine of his new 2022 squad Bora-Hansgrohe, a Specialized. And this fact got him fired two months early.
Higuita was contractually obligated to ride EF Education-Nippo’s Cannondale bikes in racing, training and riding public events, and needed permission from his team to ride the Specialized S-Works SL7.
According to Cyclingnews, a team spokesman said, “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. 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 will miss out on at least a month’s pay.
Right now EF Education-Nippo has 15 riders on their way to another team or out of contract in 2022; recently, Japanese pro Fumiyuki Beppo announced his retirement. Ten riders including Esteban Chaves are transferring in. At Bora-Hansgrohe, Peter Sagan and Pascal Ackermann are among the ten riders moving on or currently out of contract. Higuita, Sam Bennett, Alexandr Vlasov and 2021 Giro d’Italia runner-up Jai Hindley are part of the 11 new riders signed for 2022.