It has been a challenging week for Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis), who was not only relegated from first to 27th at EuroEyes Cyclassics Hamburg but missed his flight following confusion with his anti-doping test after the race. The Frenchman has responded in the best fashion possible, however, by sprinting to his 50th career victory on stage 1 at the Tour du Poitou-Charentes.
"Since childhood, I built myself through adversity and failures," Bouhanni told DirectVelo. "It's in my temperament always come back. In life, you can either collapse and leave, or stand up as a man. But I think rather be part of the second category.
"This is my fiftieth professional victory. After two weeks without cycling and 30 days on antibiotics following the French championships, I'm happy to win again. This first stage was difficult, with great heat, even if we rode tempo all day. It was almost warmer than in Qatar. I was always in the top 20 of the bunch from when we entered the circuit."
Bouhanni beat Wanty-Groupe Gobert duo Roy Jans and Danilo Napolitano in the bunch gallop to put himself into the first leader's jersey of the race. He explained the victory went someway to erasing the pain of Sunday's result.
"I am happy to win here after my relegation in Hamburg, which according to me and many others was unjustified. We have seen much worse than that in the sprints. In my head, I won there. Many riders, including foreigners, have told me that I did not deserve that, which made me happy," Bouhanni said.
"So today, I wanted to win but I did not know how I would be, especially as I slept only three hours Sunday night in Germany, due to doping control and a very early morning flight. I did not know how well I had recovered, but this victory proves that my form is improving. This bodes well for the future. I want to win as many races as I can in the coming weeks."
Bouhanni missed the Tour de France in July after a fight the night before the French national championships left him with four stitches in his right hand. The 26-year-old has taken wins at Ruta del Sol, Paris-Nice, Volta Ciclista a Catalunya, Tour de Picardie and Criterium du Dauphiné.