After race officials relegated Nacer Bouhanni for irregular sprinting during stage 2 at Paris-Nice on Tuesday, the Frenchman redeemed himself with a clean sprint to win stage 4 in Romans-sur-Isere on Thursday. Bouhanni said he’s moved on from the controversial sprint two days ago and that he’s focused on getting more results.
“Stage 3 was disappointing because I was disqualified and that was massively disappointing, but this [victory] does somewhat make up for it,” Bouhanni said after finishing the sprint.
During the final 100 metres of the sprint 2 in Commentry, Bouhanni deviated from his line, from the right-hand side of the road over to the left where Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEdge) was positioned. He then leaned into Matthews, who was coming up next to the barriers, as the pair approached the finish line, and very nearly crashed both of them.
Bouhanni crossed the line first, followed by a visibly angry Matthews and then Niccolo Bonifazio (Trek-Segafredo) in third. Race officials immediately relegated Bouhanni to third place for irregular sprinting.
In Romans-sur-Isere, however, it was a smooth finish as Katusha and Cofidis were the dominant lead-out trains coming into the last five kilometres. Bouhanni’s sprint was relatively uncontested and he won the stage in a clean sprint ahead of Edward Theuns (Trek-Segafredo) and Andre Greipel (Lotto-Soudal).
“In sport everybody wants to win and so I have to move on with no regrets and just realise that it’s just one of those things, it just didn’t work out for me on that occasion. Now, I can focus on the victory and move forward,” Bouhanni said.
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