VN news ticker: Sergio Higuita to remain with EF Education-Nippo through 2021, Alexandre Balmer joins Team BikeExchange through 2024

Here's the news making the headlines on Wednesday, November 10.

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Sergio Higuita to remain with EF Education-Nippo through 2021

Colombian climber Sergio Higuita, who was reported to have been kicked off of the EF Education-Nippo squad earlier this week, will remain with the American-based squad through the remainder of his contract.

“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. He has been a steadfast teammate and positive presence, both on the roads and off. We wish Sergio the best in his future endeavors,” the team said in a statement sent to VeloNews.

Higuita, 24, was caught on video riding a Specialized Tarmac with Bora-Hansgrohe livery at a cycling event hosted by EF Education-Nippo teammate Rigoberto Urán.

The team’s bike partner is Cannondale.

EF Education-Nippo chose to immediately terminate its relationship with Higuita for using non-sponsor-correct equipment at a public event while still employed by the team.

“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,” the statement continued.

After some discussion, both Higuita and the team set a course that would take the contract through 2021.

“I wish to offer my apologies to all the sponsors and to the team. 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,” Higuita said. “I’m happy we could come to an agreement, and I wish the team luck in the seasons ahead.”

While racing under the EF Education-Nippo colors, Higuita finished in 10th place at the 2021 Il Lombardia, won the best young rider competition at the 2020 Paris-Nice, and also the 2020 Colombian national road championships, and was second on the general classification at the 2019 Amgen Tour of California.

Alexandre Balmer joins Team BikeExchange through 2024

Alexandre Balmer inked a two-year contract with Team BikeExchange that will see the 21-year-old with the Australian squad through 2024.

“I have always watched the Tour de Romandie, which passes in front of my house and how my national coach, Michael Albasini, used to win stages of the race regularly. Now I am starting to realize that I will have my place in the big bus that I was fascinated by when I was younger,” said Balmer.

The former U23 Swiss time trial champion steps up to the WorldTour, after winning gold in the UCI world cross-country mountain bike world championships and also the European MTB championships in 2018. Balmer also scored silver in the European junior road race the same year and was fourth at the world junior championships.

“With Alexandre we believe that we have signed a very talented rider for the future. He is going to be the youngest rider in our men’s roster and the first year will be all about learning how we work at GreenEDGE cycling and what the WorldTour level is all about, said team general manager Brent Copeland.“Time is his advantage, and we’ll make sure that he has all he needs to improve race by race.”

“Our first goal is to continue my development and as soon as possible, to reach the level of the best in the world on the road,” Balmer said. “I know that the team will be there to support me with road cycling and also on the project of the Olympic Games in the mountain bike discipline.”

Team BikeExhange recently added American Lawson Craddock, a time trial specialist, to its roster, as it continues to bolster its lineup. Esteban Chaves was the top name moving on from the squad. The Colombian is set to join EF Education-Nippo next season.

Eritrean pro Desiet Kidane killed by driver

Eritrean rider Desiet Kidane was killed Tuesday by a driver near the Eritrean capital Asmara while she was on a training ride.

“With her constant smile, kindness, respect, and deep passion for cycling, Desiet Kidane Tekeste was a rising young talent who will be greatly missed. Our thoughts are with her family, friends and teammates, and coaches during this tragic time,” the UCI said in a statement Tuesday.

Further details about the incident are unavailable.

Racing in the UCI’s World Cycling Centre Continental team colors, the rising star won both the time trial and road race at the 2018 Junior African Continental Championships.

Kidane competed at the 2021 UCI world road cycling championships in Belgium and competed in the Baloise Ladies Tour and Binche-Chimay-Binche. She finished 18th in the 2021 Périgord Ladies, and 22nd in the 2021 Choralis Fourmies Féminine.

VeloNews extends heartfelt condolences to Desiet’s family, friends, and teammates.

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