Nacer Bouhanni becomes the latest sprinter to abandon 2021 Tour de France

The Arkéa-Samsic rider had recorded three podium finishes in the opening week

Nacer Bouhanni
(Image credit: Getty)

Nacer Bouhanni has abandoned the 2021 Tour de France on stage 15, the latest sprinter to do so.

The Frenchman was part of a large group of riders who crashed hard with 60km still to go on Friday's stage 13, and although he completed yesterday's route he was visibly in discomfort during the opening hours of racing on stage 15.

Riding off the back of the group and with the day's three main climbs still to come, the 30-year-old called time on his participation in the race with around 110km remaining of the stage.

It is a blow for Bouhanni who had performed well during the race's sprint stages, finishing second on stage four, racking up two third-place finishes and a fourth.

>>> Who's out of the Tour de France?

He follows a pattern at this Tour of sprinters abandoning, with Caleb Ewan, Tim Merlier and Peter Sagan all having quit, and Arnaud Démare missing the time cut on stage nine.

His withdrawal boosts Mark Cavendish's chances of winning at least one more sprint stage in the Tour which would make him the Tour's all-time record stage winner.

Cavendish's sprint rivals are now Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Fenix), Michael Matthews (BikeExchange) and Wout van Aert of Jumbo Visma.

For Bouhanni, it marks disappointment as he was riding his best-ever Tour on what was his first appearance in his home Grand Tour since 2017.

He was suspended from racing for two months earlier in the season for "dangerous conduct" when he pushed Briton Jake Stewart into the barriers during the finish of the Cholet - Pays de la Loire.

He returned to action in June's Belgium Tour and had emerged as one of Cavendish's biggest threats in sprint stages, but he will now return home and prepare for other goals in his season.

So far, 35 riders have left the Tour before its arrival into Paris, with other riders no longer competing including Primož Roglič and Simon Yates.