UCI refers Bouhanni’s sprint shove to Disciplinary Commission for additional punishment

Nacer Bouhanni at the Tour de la Provence. Photo: Cor Vos

by Caley Fretz

photography by Cor Vos


Following Nacer Bouhanni’s disqualification for unsafe sprinting at Cholet-Pays de la Loire on Sunday, the UCI has referred the matter to its Disciplinary Commission, demanding the “imposition of sanctions that are appropriate to the seriousness of the action,” the governing body said in a statement.

In the sprint final of Cholet-Pays de la Loire, Bouhanni swung hard left against neo-pro sprinter Jake Stewart (Groupama-FDJ), shoving him against the left-side barrier. Stewart managed to keep himself upright but was pushed backwards and out of contention in the sprint.

“I admit my mistake in changing my trajectory, but there was nothing intentional,” Bouhanni said via a statement released by his Arkea-Samsic team.

“I want to say that I’m sorry for Jake Stewart,” Bouhanni said. “The sprint went like this: I saw Élie Viviani launch, and I wanted to take his draft. I admit that my mistake was to change course to go take his wheel. I didn’t see Jake Stewart at that moment. When we make contact with each other, I found myself unbalanced and I caught myself as best I can so as not to fall. I just wanted to take the slipstream because the wind was coming from the front, right side, in any case it wasn’t intentional.”

The Disciplinary Commission has considerably leeway in determining the proper punishment for such actions, ranging from a fine to long suspensions, as seen in the case of Dylan Groenewegen, who is currently serving a nine-month ban for a similar incident with far great consequences at the Tour of Poland.

Bouhanni has a long list of altercations on his resume, including a “violent altercation” with his own director and a physical fight with Rudy Barbier, another sprinter.

Stewart went to Twitter Sunday evening to express his distaste at Bouhanni’s maneuver.

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