Team Sky has pulled out of the Vuelta a Espana following the death of their team soigneur Txema Gonzalez on Friday.
The team made the announcement early Saturday morning in a press release on its website. Although they will not be racing, Sky’s riders will attend the minute’s silence in Gonzalez’s honour at the start of the Saturday’s stage in Villena.
Gonzalez died in hospital on Friday after a bacterial infection developed into a sepsis blood infection.
Sky principal Dave Brailsford said in a press release “Txema’s death is devastating to everyone in Team Sky.”
“We’ve lost a good friend, a much respected and valued colleague.”
“We have considered all the elements very carefully and this is the only decision we could take.”
Brailsford said the team will attend Gonzalez’ funeral next week.
“The organisers of the Vuelta and the UCI have both been informed of our decision and we are deeply grateful for their cooperation and understanding.”
The same press release also pointed out that several other riders and team members had become ill during the race because of a viral infection, not connected with Gonzalez’ illness.
“The medical conditions are different but we need to take care of our team.” Three of the riders had already pulled out of the race, Ben Swift and John-Lee Augustyn on stage three and Spain’s Juan Antonio Flecha on stage seven.