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Duo withdrawn from Vuelta a Espana after holding on to team car

Alexandre Geniez is one of two riders withdrawn by AG2R La Mondiale. Tim de Waele/Corbis via Getty Images

AG2R-La Mondiale has withdrawn two of its riders -- Alexandre Geniez and Nico Denz -- from the Vuelta a Espana ahead of the stage 16 time trial.

The decision was made after footage emerged which showed the two riders holding on to the team car during Sunday's 129.4km stage from Alcala la Real to Alto Hoya de la Mora.

A statement on the team's official website read: "After viewing the video footage that showed two of our riders intentionally holding on to the team car during the 15th stage on Sunday, September 3, the management of the AG2R-La Mondiale team has decided to withdraw Alexandre Geniez and Nico Denz from the Vuelta a Espana.

"The AG2R-La Mondiale team sincerely apologises to the organisers and the public for the unsportsmanlike behaviour of our riders, which is contrary to our values and our ethics."

French rider Geniez, who has won two stages of the Vuelta since making his race debut in 2011, issued an apology early on Tuesday morning.

In a statement posted on his official twitter account, the 29 year-old wrote [translated from French]: "I made a mistake in hanging on to the car of the sports director during the final of the 15th stage of the Vuelta.

"The team management of AG2R-La Mondiale has decided to remove me from the Vuelta a Espana. This is difficult but I have to accept it

"I sincerely apologise to the organisers and the public, but also to my teammates for this behaving in a way contrary to the values of my employer.

"I had a tough start to the season and today I just want to show on the bike that this incident does not reflect my vision of the sport."

Like his teammate, German rider Denz was also quick to apologise for his actions during stage 15, which saw Chris Froome extend his lead over Vincenzo Nibali to over a minute.

"There is no excuse for it, it was wrong and totally unnecessary," said the 23 year-old, who was competing in his first ever Grand Tour event.

"At the end of the stage after two hard weeks at the Vuelta, through which I fought with bronchitis, I let myself get carried away. It was a mistake and I regret it."

The Press Association contributed to this report