‘It’s a joke, it should have been €10,000’: Quick-Step critical of Nacer Bouhanni fine for apparent punch

Quick-Step Floors manager Patrick Lefevere thinks Bouhanni should have been given a heavier penalty

Nacer Bouhanni on stage four of the Tour de France (ASO)
(Image credit: Pauline BALLET)

The penalty for Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) allegedly punching Jack Bauer in the Tour de France's stage 10 sprint to Bergerac "is a joke," according to Bauer's Quick-Step Floors team.

Television footage shows French sprinter, who boxes in his spare time, take his right hand off the bars and reach out for Bauer around 7.3km away from the sprint finish. The jury responded by giving him a 200 Swiss Franc fine and penalised him one minute in the general classification.

>>> Marcel Kittel sets new German record with Tour de France stage 10 win

"It's a joke," Quick-Step Floors general manager Patrick Lefevere told Cycling Weekly of the penalty. "How can you give someone a one-minute penalty if they are already one hour, 29 minutes behind the yellow jersey? It's a joke.

"They don't have to put them out of the race, but at least give him a 10,000 euro [fine] and say 'listen, you pay all of that to a charity and if we see it again, it's over'. But not 200 Swiss francs, which could pay for the Champagne for the evening."

Watch: Tour de France stage 10 highlights

The UCI Jury President Philippe Marien said that he will not make any comparisons to the Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe), who was disqualified from the race following an incident that caused Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) to crash on stage four.

He explained they warned Bouhanni to keep his hands on the handlebars, but also took a look at the surrounding circumstances.

"In any circumstance, a rider has to keep his hands on the handlebars," added Lefevere. "There's no excuse, nothing at all."

Quick-Step approached the jury after the sprint finish yesterday and the sports directors spoke with Marien again this morning near the team's bus. The team yesterday celebrated their fourth stage win of the 2017 Tour with Marcel Kittel.

>>> 'He doesn't like me, I don't like him': FDJ rider sorry for using foul language, but remains critical of Bouhanni

Bauer led Kittel into the final. Afterwards, he said that he had no need to approach Bouhanni.

"I put it behind me the second that it occurred and refocussed on the sprint," the New Zealander said. "That's what we are here to do, win races and not to make petty comments or make annoyances in the bunch.

"I didn't expect a penalty at all. I don't think there was an incident out there that needed any repercussions.

"It's not a granfondo, it's not a charity or a bunch ride, it's the Tour de France and it's a high stakes, fast, aggressive sprint final. I come into a sprint finish like that expecting aggression from other riders and rivals teams, especially from other rival teams who are under pressure to win.

"I understand that Bouhanni needs to win, Cofidis needs to win. They are in France and they have a big sprinter here. It's obvious they will be aggressive and do what they can to beat Marcel, but unfortunately at this Tour de France, it's not going to happen."

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