Bouhanni out-boxed in Tour de France sprints.

Bouhanni post stage in Rodez. Photo twisted spoke

Boo-hoo Bouhanni.

As we look back at the Le Grand Shindig, one of the high profile losers was the man in bright red, Cofidis sprinter, and amateur boxer, Nacer Bouhanni.

He had come into this Tour hoping to elevate himself up into the top level of grand tour fastman. He wanted his name spoken with reverence like star sprinters Mark Cavendish, Marcel Kittel, Peter Sagan and Andre Greipel. At the very worst, he wanted the same attention as fellow French sprinter Andre Demare of FDJ.

He was hungry and ambitious and this was the biggest stage in pro cycling. He came to land a knockout blow. However in sprint after sprint, he found himself down the standings. The only news he generated was negative as other riders reacted to his dangerous riding style by calling him out as a “dick” with few friends in the peloton.

Dealing with disappointment

When we were at the tour for the second week, we couldn’t help but notice how isolated Bouhanni appeared. He never seemed to receive many cheers or applause. Even his own teammates looked like they kept their distance. While French fans screamed for Romain Bardet at AG2R and the polka dot exploits of Warren Barguil at Sunweb and the stage win of Andre Demare at FDJ, Bouhanni seemed very much alone.

After the stage that finished in Rodez on a glorious day in the south of France, we were standing by the AG2R and Cofidis buses that were parked next to each other. When Bardet and his teammates arrived, there was a boisterous crowd of fans waiting. Meanwhile not 30 feet away, Bouhanni sat on a curb staring at the side of his bus, a blank wall that we thought was a symbol of his thwarted ambitions.

Boxed out of sprints

We’re not a fan of Bouhanni’s personality but in that moment we actually felt sorry for him. There he was, sitting on the street like a lost kid, the big dream of his season going up in smoke. No teammates or Cofidis personal around to console him or try to cheer him up.

He’s get one last, final shot at glory on the Champs Elysees in Paris. Against a depleted field of sprinters, with Cav, Sagan, Kittel and Demare all gone, Bouhanni could only manage fourth. Out-boxed, out-raced, out of chances.

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