Cofidis pull Nacer Bouhanni out of Volta a Catalunya due to ongoing illness

Illness means Bouhanni suffered "weakened sprint" on opening stage

Nacer Bouhanni in action at the Dubai Tour
(Image credit: Yuzuru Sunada)

Cofidis have pulled Nacer Bouhanni out of the Volta a Catalunya after the opening stage with the team saying that he is continuing to suffer from the after-effects of bronchitis that he contracted in early March.

Bouhanni finished in seventh place in the opening stage to Calella, which was won by young Quick-Step Floors sprinter Alvaro Hodeg, but did not start Wednesday's 175km stage two between Mataró and Valls.

In a statement issued on Tuesday morning, the team said that the decision had been made to withdraw Bouhanni from the race to allow him to fully recover from the illness that he picked up at Paris-Nice.

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"Cofidis decided not to start Nacer Bouhanni on the second stage of the Volta a Catalunya," the statement read.

"He was not fully recovered from his bronchitis which had forced him to abandon Paris-Nice and which weakened him considerably in his sprint yesterday.

"He now has to observe a complete rest period to get back to 100 per cent before resuming training for the next races."

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The decision comes a week after Bouhanni voiced his disappointment at the team's decision not to include him in the squad for Milan-San Remo, saying that he had recovered from the bronchitis and had been "given the green light" by the Cofidis team doctor.

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Bouhanni is one of the only major sprinters who has yet to win a race so far this season, with his best result coming on stage three of the Dubai Tour in early February when he finished as runner-up behind Mark Cavendish.

The team have yet to announce where or when Bouhanni will make his return to action, although one of Cofidis' numerous upcoming Europe Tour races in France, such as the Circuit Sarthe where the 27-year-old has picked up five stage wins in the past, could provide the opportunity.

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