Bouhanni hopeful of riding the Tour de France

X-rays reveal only cartilage damage after high-speed crash

Nacer Bouhanni has said he hopes to start the Tour de France after x-rays revealed cartilage damage between his ribs but no fractures.

The Cofidis sprinter crashed at speed in sight of the finish line during Sunday’s French national championships and suggested his chances of riding the Tour de France were slim. However, after travelling home to eastern France, x-rays boosted Bouhanni’s morale and his chances of riding the Tour de France, even if his injuries could affect his sprinting ability.

Bouhanni tweeted his good news immediately after leaving hospital: “X-ray done: No fractures but damage to the rib cartilages, I hope to still be at the start of the Tour de France on Saturday @letour” he wrote.

On Sunday he had tweeted: “Surely out of the Tour. Rib is cracked or broken. I’ll give more news shortly,” leaving French cycling fans dismayed at the thought of the amateur boxer and aggressive rider not being able to take on Mark Cavendish, Peter Sagan and former FDJ teammate Arnaud Démare in the Tour de France sprints.

Bouhanni crashed as he was about to launch his sprint in an attempt to win the French national title. Former FDJ teammate Anthony Roux switched across the road in front of him, taking him down. He landed on his right shoulder and thigh but also his ribs. Bouhanni eventually got up and began walking to the finish line before given a new bike from his Cofidis team car.

Bouhanni was not selected by FDJ for the Tour de France in 2014 but won three stages at the Giro d’Italia and two at the Vuelta a Espana before moving to Cofidis as the team’s star rider for 2015. He struggled in the first part of the season but won two stages at the Circuit Cycliste Sarthe and two stages at the more recent Critérium du Dauphiné.

24 year-old Bouhanni has only ridden the Tour de France once during his career, in 2013, but fell ill and crashed, abandoning on stage six.

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