The Cofidis team has confirmed that Nacer Bouhanni will ride Sunday’s Gent-Wevelgem Classic in Belgium despite the French sprinter quitting the Volta a Catalunya due to stomach problem after winning the opening two stages.
If Gent-Wevelgem ends in a sprint finish, Bouhanni will face serious opposition from the likes of Peter Sagan (Tinkoff), Fernando Gaviria (Etixx-QuickStep), Andre Greipel (Lotto Soudal), Alexander Kristoff (Katusha), Fabian Cancellara (Trek-Segafredo), Elia Viviani (Team Sky) and Milan-San Remo winner and French rival Arnaud Demare.
Bouhanni is looking to use his early-season form to secure a result in Belgium after missing out at Milan-San Remo due to a mechanical problem as he was about to sprint for victory in the Via Roma. Bouhanni bounced back from that disappointment to win two sprints in Catalunya but then quit the race while wearing the leader’s jersey, citing stomach problems. He is expected to take a break following Gent-Wevelgem after racing for 23 days so far this season.
“We took a decision to enter him for Gent-Wevelgem on Friday,” team manager Yvon Sanquer told French newspaper La Voix du Nord.
“With the form he’s got and because he showed great psychological strength after the disappointment of last Saturday (in Milan-San Remo), it would have been a shame not to try to get a result. It could be a great chance to finish off his early block of racing with a big result before he takes a break.”
To help Bouhanni in an eventual sprint, the Cofidis team has tweaked its squad for Gent-Wevelgem, confirming that Jonas Ahlstrand, Hugo Hofstetter, Christophe Laporte, Cyril Lemoine, Michael Van Staeyen and Florian Senechal will line up alongside Bouhanni.
Watch the video below for the full list of our riders to watch at Gent-Wevelgem and let us know who you think will win in the comments below.
To subscribe to the Cyclingnews video channel, click here.