Dave Brailsford announces team's decision to pull out as mark of respect...

Team Sky have pulled out of the Vuelta a Espana following the death yesterday of soigneur Txema González. A statement on the British ProTour outfit’s website said that the decision to withdraw from the race had been taken by the team and had the support of González’s family.

Explaining the reasons behind the withdrawal ahead of the start of today's Stage 8 of the race, Brailsford said: "We have considered all the elements very carefully and this is the only decision we could take. It's the right one; to show respect to Txema and to look after our team.”

He continued: "We discussed it with Txema's family and they fully support our decision. They have asked us to the funeral next week and we will of course be there to support them and to pay our respects.”

Although as reported yesterday, González’s death is unrelated to the virus that has forced three riders to abandon the race, Brailsford acknowledged that the illness that has swept through the team remains a concern, saying: "Others - staff and riders - have been ill during this Tour and Juan Antonio Flecha pulled out on Friday. The medical conditions are different but we need to take care of our team.

He continued: “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.

"We wish all the other teams in the race well and will now take time to deal with this tragic news.

"Our thoughts are with Txema's family," he concluded.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.