Having been left out of Cofidis’ team for the Tour de France after a fractious few months in the relationship between him and the team, Nacer Bouhanni has voiced his displeasure at the team management’s decision.
“I am very, very disappointed,” Bouhanni told French sports newspaper L’Equipe. I am really very unhappy.
“Even if I am mentally strong, it is very hard to accept [the decision]. I always give 100 per cent but mentally it’s getting harder for me.”
Bouhanni’s is the latest in an ongoing conflict between the rider and the team hierarchy since Cédric Vasseur took over from Yves Sanquer as Cofidis’ general manager at the end of 2017.
In March Bouhanni hit out at the team’s decision not to pick him for Milan-San Remo, before the team withdrew him from the Volta a Catalunya after one stage due to “illness”. Vasseur then said that he “wouldn’t enter Bouhanni in a sportive” in a stinging attack on the former boxer’s form, training and attitude at the start of April.
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Bouhanni was also involved in a “violent altercation” with sports director Roberto Damiani at the Eschborn-Frankfurt one-day race, and was seen remonstrating with team-mate Christophe Laporte after he ignored team orders to lead-out Laporte on the opening stage of the Route d’Occitanie, instead choosing to sprint against his team-mate.
However the 27-year-old, who describes himself as “shy and reserved” says that the issues stem from poor communication from the team management, particularly Vasseur.
“At Cofidis, I do not get to talk with many people. These are conversations by email,” Bouhanni continued. “I would like to know what is expected of me, to tell me things face-to-face.
“I hardly know Cédric, he barely knows me wither. I haven’t had any real discussions with him since December.”
After missing out on selection for the Tour de France, Bouhanni is now expected to be the team’s main sprinter at the Vuelta a España.