Fabian Cancellara has come in for some harsh words from his sports director after he abandoned mid-way through stage 19 of the Vuelta a Espana.

“We’re extremely disappointed by Fabian’s abandon, it’s not the way a great champion should behave,” Saxo Bank’s sports director at the race, Bradley McGee, told Reuters.

“He decided to stop for some unknown reason, hurried off to the airport to catch the next flight and now he’s not answering his phone.”

“When he decided to pull the pin [stop] on the race, I expressed a very strong opinion about that, and I was adamant he should continue but I can’t push him back onto his bike.”

McGee said the agreement had been that Cancellara would pull out after the stage, not during it, in order to help team-mate Frank Schleck – who had a tough time at the finish, puncturing then skidding towards the barriers, although he did not crash.

“It was going to be a difficult, tricky finish, so we agreed he’d stay to help Frank with positioning for that. But he got off the bike earlier.”

There have been repeated rumours on the internet that the triple World Time Trial Champion and double Paris-Roubaix winner might be moving on from Saxo Bank in 2011, even though he still has a year’s contract left to go, but as yet they have not been confirmed.