The French sprinter had seized the overall lead after taking an impressive victory on stage 1 of Paris-Nice in Nemours but he crashed heavily the following day, falling on his face. Bouhanni damaged teeth in the fall and also required stitches to his lip.
“I got back on the bike on Friday because I really wanted to know where I was, but I could see after two hours that it wasn’t going well,” Bouhanni told L’Èquipe. “I was suffering like a dog on the climbs and I couldn’t ride above 25kph. I didn’t really want to admit it because I absolutely wanted to ride Milan-San Remo.”
Bouhanni has thus opted to forgo La Classicissima, and he is likely to make his return to racing the following weekend at Critérium International. “With Marc Madiot, we decided to put a line through it. It’s wiser to take a few days of rest and start training again on Tuesday,” Bouhanni said.
One man who will be at Milan-San Remo for FDJ is Yoann Offredo, although the Frenchman opted to abandon Paris-Nice at the feed zone on Saturday’s penultimate stage. After spending a year away from racing as he served a suspension for violations of the whereabouts system, Offredo admitted that he needed to rest ahead of the classics.
“I had worked pretty hard during the days before and this was my first real stage race after a year without competition,” Offredo said. “I didn’t want to jump the gun.”