Paris-Nice: FDJ team rue forced withdrawal of race leader Nacer Bouhanni
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Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Paris-Nice: FDJ team rue forced withdrawal of race leader Nacer Bouhanni

by Shane Stokes at 2:05 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Paris-Nice, Injury
Soupe and Offredo react to stage one winner’s crash

Nacer BouhanniJubilant one day earlier when Nacer Bouhanni won the first stage and grabbed the race leader’s yellow jersey, the FDJ team was left rueing its luck and regretting his misfortune when the Frenchman crashed out of the race today.

The national road race champion was sitting second in line behind a team-mate when his front wheel slid out on a left hand bend in the road. The loss of traction sent him spilling to the ground, Bouhanni landing heavily on his chest and face, and suffering cuts.

He received treatment right away but didn’t get back on his bike; on what should have been one of the proudest days of his career thus far, he left the race without being able to defend his jersey. In fact, according to team-mate Geoffrey Soupe, he was aiming for more than that.

“On Monday evening, we shared the same room. We were on cloud nine,” he said. “Nacer was super-motivated, and he thought he could win again!”

However during the stage, a fall of rain made the roads slippery and concerned him. “For fifteen kilometers he was nervous,” team-mate Yoann Offredo explained. “In a turn, there was a little dust. He clearly turned too quickly and slipped. The shock was a violent one.”

Bouhanni was attended by doctors at the scene and then put into an ambulance. He was then brought to the team bus, from where he was brought firstly to a hospital in Riom, then in Clermonth. He had his lip stitched and some tests done.

As Offredo explained afterwards, the news hit the team hard. “We all experienced an extraordinary emotion on Monday. We are all very sad today. Nacer is a team-mate but is mostly a friend. It is tough to get going again.”

The team did that, though, working hard for Soupe. He said that he felt he could win, but went too early and faded to fourteenth place. Still, the effort showed fighting spirit within the team, and indicated that it will battle on in a race which gave so much to it yesterday, yet took so much back today.


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