Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) has pulled out of this weekend’s Milan-San Remo after struggling to recover from a bout of bronchitis. Cofidis have not yet named their team for La Primavera but it is likely that Christophe Laporte, who has three victories already this season, will replace Bouhanni as the team’s leader.
The cold and wet weather that battered the Paris-Nice peloton resulted in numerous riders abandoning due to illness, with Bouhanni among the more than 70 riders to quit the race before the finish in Nice. Bouhanni fell ill towards the end of the race and did not start stage 6.
"Insufficiently recovered from acute bronchitis contracted on the roads of Paris-Nice, @BouhanniNacer unfortunately is declared out for Milan San Remo," Cofidis wrote on Twitter.
Cofidis has made a number of changes within the team this season in order to revive their flagging fortunes. Last year, they fired team manager Yves Sanquer and replaced him with former rider Cedric Vasseur.
Since joining the team, Vasseur has made some significant changes to the set-up around Bouhanni, particularly with the appointment of Roberto Damiani and reducing his lead-out train. The changes are yet to reap any reward thus far and Bouhanni’s best result was a second place to Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) on stage 3 of the Dubai Tour.
Bouhanni is one of several contenders that will be missing from the start line of Milan-San Remo this weekend, through illness and injury. Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step Floors) was ruled out of the Italian Monument after breaking his hand in a crash on stage 6 of Tirreno-Adriatico. Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb) and Cavendish have not yet confirmed their participation but both are in doubt after crashes in the last couple of weeks. Matthews fractured his shoulder at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, while a heavy fall during the Tirreno-Adriatico team time trial left Cavendish with a broken rib.
Milan-San Remo will take place on Saturday, March 17 and Cyclingnews will have live coverage of the race from start to finish.