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Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ.fr)
Frenchman took no risks in the final sprint to secure the red jersey
Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ.fr) may have missed out on winning his fourth Giro d'Italia stage but the calculating 23-year-old decided against contesting the stage 21 sprint at maximum speed to ensure he claimed the maglia rosso. The Frenchman could have lost the jersey had he crashed but rolling over the line in fourth place secured his win on 291 points, 26 ahead of Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek Factory Racing).
"In the sprint, I did not take any risks," Bouhanni said. "I was afraid of crashing. I came to the Giro to try to win a stage. In the first week I did not think about the red jersey but it became an objective as the race went on.
"I wore it for two weeks and I got a taste for it. I did not know how I would handle the hard final week in the mountains, but I did everything with my teammates to keep the red jersey and take it to Trieste. To finish my first Giro with three stage wins and the jersey is exceptional."
With Marcel Kittel (Giant-Shimano) absent from the race's Italian stages due to a fever, Bouhanni was the man to beat in the sprints and celebrated the last of his three stage wins in the points jersey.
The last FDJ rider to win a grand tour points jersey was Australian Baden Cook in the 2003 Tour de France and for team manager Marc Madiot, the successes of the 97th Giro is more reward for the French team.
"It's nice for everyone," Madiot said. "Nacer did some beautiful sprints, led out by Sébastien Chavanel, Murilo Fischer and others. This jersey and the stage wins these are the rewards of 17 years of working with young riders.
"We are very proud. For three weeks, we were active in the sprints, in the breakaways and with Alexander Géniez in the mountains and the general classification.
"We stayed in the race for three weeks and we got our rewards. I have to say to my riders that they did a great race."