Young French champion ready to take on national monument
One of the most promising sprinters of French cycling, national champion Nacer Bouhanni, is eager to build on his good current form to try and win Paris-Tours this coming Sunday. Having beaten John Degenkolb (Argos-Shimano) for second place in the sprint that concluded Thursday's Paris-Bourges, the FDJ-BigMat rider counts amongst the favourites for the national monument laid out over 235 kilometres.
Paris-Tours is Bouhanni's last objective of this season. "I've prepared especially for it," he told Velochrono. "I wouldn't be surprised to win it. I do what I have to do, but without too much pressure. The important thing is not to have any regrets once you've passed the line - to know you've given the very best of yourself."
At Paris-Bourges, where Florian Vachon (Bretagne - Schuller) outsmarted the sprinters to take the victory just ahead of Bouhanni, the 22-year-old had been disappointed with his second place. "If Geoffroy Soupe, who was supposed to lead me out in the finale, hadn't crashed under the flamme rouge, we would have had a bunch sprint," he explained.
Still, Bouhanni has had many good results this season: On 75 race days, he counted seven victories, 19 podiums and 40 top ten placings. Regularly sprinting against Argos-Shimano's John Degenkolb or Marcel Kittel, he said their only advantage against him was "this impressive train of theirs. But we could do the same..."
Indeed, FDJ-BigMat's team manager Marc Madiot is looking at improving the squad's fire power for the fast finishes, also with a view to launch his other promising sprinter, Arnaud Démare. Bouhanni and Démare will be the outfit's key sprinters in 2013, as Yauheni Hutarovich will be leaving for AG2R La Mondiale. "He's done a good job recruiting for the sprints, especially by signing Murilo Fischer, who worked for Tyler Farrar at Garmin," Bouhanni said of his team manager. "Now, it'll only be up to us to work out the train. But I'm full of confidence!"