Nacer Bouhanni has once again found himself on the wrong side of the Cofidis management after team boss Cédric Vasseur said that the so-called star sprinter wouldn’t even make the team for a sportive.
Days after Bouhanni abandoned the Circuit de la Sarthe just 100km into the opening stage, Vasseur spoke to L’Equipe where he slammed the sprinter’s form, training, and attitude.
“Nacer did not live up to his role as leader [at Circuit de la Sarthe],” Vasseur told the French sports daily. “He let his team-mates alone in the rain.
“A captain must be the last to leave the ship so Nacer must be able to finish the races, that’s the minimum we ask. We can not trust him anymore. I would not put him at the start of a cyclosportive.”
Watch: Tour de France 2018 route guide
A divisive figure among riders and fans, Bouhanni has endured a tempestuous start to the year, first clashing with team bosses after they decided not to include him in the team’s line up at Milan-San Remo, and then withdrawing him from the Volta a Catalunya after the opening stage.
Vasseur said that Bouhanni’s claim that he was ready to race Milan-San Remo was based on a single hour-and-a-half training ride, and after pulling him out of Catalunya the team sent him to undergo physiological tests – the results of which showed that Bouhanni was well short of racing form.
“Based on physiological tests, he is not in the top 10 of the team today,” Vasseur continued, saying that Bouhanni’s place in the squad’s Tour de France line-up could be at risk. “We do our best to tell him this, but it’s up to him to get to work.
Vasseur also said that as the team’s leader and biggest name sprinter, Bouhanni had been expected to pick up 50 per cent of the team’s victories in 2018. However the Frenchman is yet to pick up a win so far this season making him the most high-profile sprinter to still be without a victory in 2018.
Bouhanni’s next chance to regain favour with team bosses should come at Eschborn-Frankfurt on May 5.