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  • Nacer Bouhanni: A ‘Rough’ Guide

    Posted on

    Fined and penalised for throwing a punch on stage 10. Wasn’t Sagan disqualified for a lesser infringement?

    Photographs: Offside/l'Equipe
    Kittel

    Oh dear. What’s he done now?

     

    During the run-in to Tuesday’s stage to Bergerac, the Cofidis sprinter planted a right jab on Quick Step’s domestique, Kiwi, and all-round good guy, Jack Bauer.

     

    What? Outrageous. So he’s been thrown off the race then, yes?

     

    Well, no, actually. The race jury decided on a derisory 200 Swiss Franc fine and a time penalty of one minute. Bouhanni’s response is most likely to be: “Bothered?!” Or whatever the sarcastic French equivalent might be.

     

    Hang on a minute. Peter Sagan was ejected from the Tour for a far from clear-cut incident that put Mark Cavendish out of the race, but Bouhanni clearly throws a punch and stays in. How does that work?

     

    You may well ask. After the Sagan incident, we suggested the race jury might have conflicted interests in these situations: that a French sprinter in the same incident would still be on the race. Several readers pointed out, quite rightly, that the UCI commissaries make the call, not the Tour organisers ASO.

     

    Valid point. So ASO holds no sway over the commissaries decisions on these matters?

     

    To quote Francis Urquhart in the original BBC House of Cards, “You might think that, I couldn’t possibly comment”.

     

    So you’re suggesting that Bouhanni being French may have somehow influenced the race jury’s thinking?

     

    I refer you to my previous answer.

     

    Bouhanni has a bit of previous, doesn’t he?

     

    Oh, yes. In fact, he missed last year’s Tour altogether following a fracas (er, punch up) on the eve of the French national championships. The former boxer injured his hand on that occasion, probably on someone’s face. He is not averse to taking one hand off the bars and making his point, one way or another. Also, if we talking ‘irregular sprinting’, Nacer’s about as irregular as they come. No stranger to controversy, this chap.

     

    Gosh. This all quite exciting. So we should keep our eyes peeled on the guy in red when it comes to the sprint, then, yes?

     

    Definitely. He’ll be in the mix for sure.

     

    And what about Bauer? Ready to unleash all kinds of cold custard revenge on his nemesis?

     

    Nah. It’s a storm in a teacup; a racing incident; just one of those things. Nothing to see here. Move on.

     

     

    So why are you writing about it?

     

    Good point. I got bored watching the racing.

     

    But Le Tour has scored un autre own goal, n’est pas?

     

    Naturellement, à demain!

     

    polka dots
    Polka dot jersey print by Camille McMillan, from the Rouleur Tour de France collection