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Bouhanni back on top with Critérium du Dauphiné win

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Nacer Bouhanni celebrates his first WorldTour win of 2015

Nacer Bouhanni celebrates his first WorldTour win of 2015 (Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) gets his first WorldTour win of the 2015 season

Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) gets his first WorldTour win of the 2015 season (Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) wins stage 2

Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) wins stage 2 (Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Nacer Bouhanni celebrates as he crosses the line

Nacer Bouhanni celebrates as he crosses the line (Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)

Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) took a morale-boosting win on stage 2 of the Critérium du Dauphiné on Tuesday but admitted that he had been below his best during earlier periods of the season.

The Frenchman moved to Cofidis after four years at FDJ, leaving Marc Madiot's team under a cloud when he complained over selection for several major races. Despite being able to pick and choose his calendar – along with the bulk of his leadout train – Bouhanni had only recorded three wins in 2015 until today's triumph at the Parc des Oiseaux Villars-les-Dombes.

"Today was a relief for me and for the team. After four year at being at FDJ it was tough to find a good system here at first. I was close to victory but I can't blame just my teammates. It was me as well who was to blame and I wasn't always at 100 per cent at some races earlier in the season," he said in his winner's press conference.

With a WorldTour win under his belt Bouhanni can start to build towards the Tour de France with a more positive outlook, although work still needs to be done if his leadout is to battle with the likes of Giant Alpecin and Etixx QuickStep in July.

"I had two blocks of objectives this season. The first was based around Paris-Nice and Milan-San Remo and the second starts here at the Dauphine before I do the French road nationals and then the Tour de France.

"I'm getting better and better as I head towards the main targets. Before I came here I had a training camp in the Vosges and that, along with the Dauphiné is all part of the preparation for the Tour. I'll be in the grupetto here for a couple of days but that's good preparation as well."

If Bouhanni is to battle for stage wins in July he will have to take on the best sprinters in the world, many of whom, with all respect to Samuel Dumoulin (AG2R La Mondiale) and Sacha Modolo (Lampre-Merida) – second and third today – are not at the Dauphiné. It's a factor Bouhanni is well aware of but despite his difficulties this season he still possesses the sprinter's natural confidence.