Well that didn’t take long. Mere days after EF Education-Nippo moved to terminate Sergio Higuita’s contract, the team has confirmed that, actually, Higuita will remain an EF rider until the end of the year.
If you’re just coming to this story, here’s what you missed.
A video has been doing the rounds on social media in recent days showing Higuita and fellow Colombian pro Dani Martinez (Ineos Grenadiers) blasting past a bunch of amateur riders at the Giro de Rigo – a gran fondo organised by Higuita’s teammate, Rigoberto Uran.
Here it is:
Some viewers (and presumably EF Education-Nippo management) noticed that Higuita wasn’t riding a Cannondale SuperSix Evo as he’s contractually obliged to, but rather a Specialized S-Works Tarmac – the bike of his 2022 team, Bora-Hansgrohe.
While teams normally turn a blind eye to riders testing new equipment early, EF Education-Nippo said Higuita’s choice of bike “lacked respect for the partners that support [Higuita] today” given it was a public event. As a result the team sent Higuita “a notice of termination regarding his contract”.
Fast forward to today and it seems like Higuita has apologised and everything’s been forgiven.
“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,” an EF Education-Nippo spokesperson said. “He has been a steadfast teammate and positive presence, both on the roads and off. We wish Sergio the best in his future endeavors.”
Higuita was contrite in his statement.
“I wish to offer my apologies to all the sponsors and to the team,” Higuita said. “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.
“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. I’m happy we could come to an agreement, and I wish the team luck in the seasons ahead.”
Lesson learnt for Higuita. But maybe there’s a bigger question that needs to be asked here. Given most races are finished by October, and given riders are heading to pre-season camps with new teams well before the end of the year, does it even make sense for pro contracts to run until December 31 these days?