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Team Sky withdraw from Vuelta following soigneur's death

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.

Simon has been news editor at since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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