Jacopo Guarnieri (FDJ) has apologised for calling Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) an “idiot” and a “dick” but remains critical of the Cofidis sprinter.
Guarnieri had a run-in with Bouhanni in the finale of stage six to Troyes, but says that it is an everyday occurrence with the Frenchman.
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“I am apologising for the words I used yesterday because they are not right, but I still don’t like what he did to me.
“I don’t regret what I said regarding the sprint, but I do regret the words I used. I apologised to him for those words, but still I don’t like to be hit on my handlebars on purpose. It’s clear he doesn’t like me and I don’t like him as well. Well, you can’t be friends with everyone.”
The Italian works for French sprinter Arnaud Démare (FDJ), who won stage four and leads the green jersey points competition.
“After I finished my effort, I wasn’t pedalling, and when he over took me he just cut me off with an elbow and knee and that was useless because I was done so I was not a danger to his sprint.
“So I was really pissed. But it is not just yesterday that upsets me, it’s everyday with Bouhanni. In the peloton, we can’t be friends with everyone.”
Guarnieri had said: “He’s a dick, he’s always making people crash. We know he’s like that. He’s probably upset with us because he always loses.”
Bouhanni warmed down on his trainer and said to waiting journalists, “You can stand there as long as you want, I’m not talking to you.”
Later, he wrote on Twitter that Guarnieri’s comments are like the pot calling the kettle black. He referred to the last stages where Démare had run-ins with his former team-mate.
Bouhanni, one of the few Muslims in the peloton with Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha-Alpecin), comes from Vosges but his parents are from Algeria.
He has previously suffered in the French ranks when at times teams would allegedly make sandwiches containing ham and give them to him with fellow riders.
However, even some of his current team-mates have spoken poorly of him, with some saying that he would not share his winnings as is custom with star riders.
Last year when forced out of the Tour due to injuring a hand in an incident at a hotel, team-mate Christophe Laporte said he did not mind racing without Bouhanni.
“You can say that he’s not the most popular bike rider in the bunch,” said Daniel McLay (Fortuneo-Oscaro), who placed eighth in the stage six.
“I don’t have much to do with him. I’ve obviously bumped and barged with him. Probably he’s not my favourite rider either, but there’s enough people I’ve bumped up with in a bike race that… It’s just racing.”
Meanwhile Davide Cimolai (FDJ) said: “Honestly, no one likes him in the group.”
“He’s not looked on well. I don’t want to make trouble, but we know that’s just the way he is and we’ll just accept it.
“There are those nice ones like Sagan or others like him, but that’s due to the person not the rider. It’s a question of politeness, because as a rider, he’s strong. He’s just a little unfriendly.”