French cycling team Ag2r-La Mondiale were forced to withdraw two riders from the Vuelta a Espana on Tuesday after they were caught using a team car to gain ground. Alexandre Geniez and Nico Denz were seen on videos released on social media holding onto a door and the roof rack of the vehicle during Sunday’s punishing climb up the Sierra Nevada.
“The management of the Ag2r-La Mondiale team has decided to withdraw Alexandre Geniez and Nico Denz from the Vuelta a Espana,” the team said in a statement. “The Ag2r-La Mondiale team sincerely apologizes to the organizers and the public for the unsportsmanlike behavior of our riders, which is contrary to our values and our ethics.”
However, it isn’t the first time Ag2r have been caught in a car tow scandal as team leader Romain Bardet was thrown out of March’s Paris-Nice for using a team car to allow him to make up lost ground from a crash.
Four-time Grand Tour winner Vincenzo Nibali was also thrown out of the Vuelta in 2015 for a similar incident.
Nibali, who lies second in the general classification, will be aiming not to lose too much time on race leader Chris Froome when the race recommences with a 40.2km time trial from Circuito de Navarra to Logrono later on Tuesday.