Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) has opted not to start stage 6 of Paris-Nice on Friday due to illness. The Frenchman is the latest sprinter to be forced out of the 'Race to the Sun' following the abandons of John Degenkolb, Sam Bennett, Phil Bauhaus and Dylan Groenewegen.
Bouhanni announced his decision to withdraw from Paris-Nice via Twitter early on Friday morning.
"Being unfortunately sick… I will be a non-starter this morning on @ParisNice," Bouhanni wrote. "Support to @TeamCOFIDIS for these final days of the race. Until very soon."
Cofidis later confirmed via social media that Bouhanni is being treated with antibiotics and is hopeful of recovering in time to participate in Milan-San Remo on Saturday, March 17.
Bouhanni has placed in the top 10 of Milan-San Remo in each of the past three years. His best finish of 4th in 2016 came despite slipping his chain during the final sprint on the Via Roma.
Bouhanni has endured a difficult start to the 2018 campaign, however, and has yet to win a race this season. He made no impact in the bunch finishes at Paris-Nice earlier this week, with 12th place in Vierzon on stage 2 his best performance in the race.
Since taking over over from Yvon Sanquer as Cofidis manager during the winter, Cedric Vasseur has looked to limit the team’s dependence Bouhanni, who has won the UCI Europe Tour in two of his three seasons with the Pro Continental team. Vasseur has reduced the size of Bouhanni’s lead-out train and handed some sprint responsibilities to Christophe Laporte, who has already won three races this season.