Bouhanni bounces back from stage 1 defeat to take first WorldTour win of season
Frenchman survives climbs to take stage 4 win at Volta a Catalunya
Narrowly defeated on stage 1 of the Volta a Catalunya, Nacer Bouhanni bounced back in style on stage 4 of the race to claim both his and Cofidis' first WorldTour win of the season.
Bouhanni finds form just ahead of Milan-San Remo
Davide Cimolai vanquishes sprinting giant Bouhanni
Contador keeps Volta a Catalunya hopes alive on La Molina
Volta a Catalunya stage reduced by 58km due to snow and cold weather
Bouhanni wins snow-shortened stage 4 of Volta a Catalunya
Froome chases down late attack by Valverde and Soler in Volta a Catalunya
Bouhanni had the added satisfaction, too, of taking his win ahead of Davide Cimolai (FDJ), the same rider who had beaten him by just two centimetres on Monday in Calella. But on this occasion, Bouhanni's winning margin was far greater.
"I made a mistake on Monday, and that was even though I knew the stage finish from the year before, when I'd won there," Bouhanni said after taking his third stage victory in the Volta, and the 55th of his career, 17 of which have been at WorldTour level.
"I was very upset at having lost by two little centimetres on Monday" - to the point where he refused to talk to reporters on the line and rode straight to his team hotel instead.
Bouhanni was able to take full advantage of FDJ's hard work in the closing kilometres of the Igualada stage, and that one of his key rivals, André Greipel, had been dropped by the short but punchy second category climb, the Turo del Puig, that immediately preceded the final run-in. Bouhanni, ably supported by Spanish climber and team-mate Dani Navarro, was able to get over the ascent in the front group, and thus get going with the stage win in his sights.
Cimolai made his move on the slightly rising finish gradient with 200 metres to go, but - in a reversal of their positions on Monday - Bouhanni was glued to his back wheel, and he came past the Italian with more than enough time to raise his arms as he soared across the line.
Having won in the Nokere Koerse last week, Bouhanni's second victory this season shows steadily rising form, and the French sprinter said he had been "determined to get the win today at any price."
"It's only my second win of the season, but I've had three second places, two thirds and and I've lost two sprints very narrowly"- the most recent one being on stage 1. "Sprints are like that, but what goes around comes around, I've always been confident I've got the condition I need and finally, it's paid off."
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Alasdair Fotheringham has been reporting on cycling since 1991. He has covered every Tour de France since 1992 bar one, as well as numerous other bike races of all shapes and sizes, ranging from the Olympic Games in 2008 to the now sadly defunct Subida a Urkiola hill climb in Spain. As well as working for Cyclingnews, he has also written for The Independent, The Guardian, ProCycling, The Express and Reuters.