Bouhanni handed two-month suspension for sprint incident

Nacer Bouhanni received a two month ban for deviating from his line in Cholet-Pays de la Loire and causing harm to Jake Stewart

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Nacer Bouhanni has been suspended for two months after deviating from his line in the Coupe de France race Cholet-Pays de la Loire on Sunday March 28 and pushed Jake Stewart (Groupama-FDJ) into the barriers. The British rider managed to stay upright but did sustain a fracture to his hand. The Arkéa-Samsic sprinter will be eligible to race on 8 June and is therefore able to compete in the Tour de France. 

What did the UCI decide?

The UCI statement read: “The Disciplinary Commission held a hearing on 6 May 2021, at which the rider admitted to having deviated from his line and committed a violation of the UCI Regulations. The rider agreed to the imposition of a two-month suspension starting retroactively on 8 April 2021. The suspension shall end on 7 June 2021. The rider also agreed to the imposition of educational measures for the benefit of the cycling family.” 

How did Bouhanni respond?

Nacer Bouhanni said in a team statement: “I would like to reiterate my apologies to Jake Stewart and assure him that I did not intend to put him in harm’s way during the sprint. I made a mistake in deviating and accept the consequences.” 

“I am happy to be able to prepare for the races in June, including the French championship in my hometown of Épinal and remain in the running of being selected for the next Tour de France.” 

The suspension is backdated to April 8, the day after his last race to date: the Scheldeprijs. The Arkéa-Samsic sprinter will be eligible to race on 8 June and is therefore able to compete in the Tour de France and the French national championship, two of the biggest objectives for both his team and Bouhanni himself.

Bouhanni was confronted with an onslaught of racial abuse and threats of violence on social media after the race. He is happy to close this chapter because it was hard to live through. 

Dylan Groenewegen was given a nine-month ban by the UCI for a similar accident in the Tour of Poland in 2020. The consequences to Fabio Jakobsen were much more severe than in the Bouhanni/Stewart case. Groenewegen’s ban ended the day before he started the Giro d’Italia last Saturday. 

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