Nacer Bouhanni and the Cofidis team have confirmed that the French sprinter will stay with the Professional Continental team until the end of 2019, in the hope of finally winning sprints at the Tour de France and other major races.
According to reports in the La Voix du Nord and L’Equipe, Bouhanni will continue to earn around 1.5 million Euro and be the team’s leader.
Cofidis is a French company that specialises in consumer credit via the internet and telephone, with interests across Europe. The company first sponsored a team in 1996, hiring Lance Armstrong and then Frank Vandenbroucke. However it was rocked by a series of doping scandals in 2004, which eventually sparked a change in team management. After several difficult seasons Bouhanni was signed in 2015 to turn things around.
Cofidis built a lead out train around Bouhanni, with Cyril Lemoine, Geoffrey Soup and Christophe Laporte providing vital support and speed in sprints to help him win 11 races in both 2015 and 2016.
Now 26, Bouhanni has won a total of 55 races, including a recent stage win at the Volta a Catalunya. However he has so far struggled at the Tour de France. He abandoned the Tour in 2015 before having a chance to contest a bunch sprint after being caught up in a mass crash on stage 5. He missed the Tour in 2016 after hurting his hand in a reported scuffle with a fellow guest at a hotel before the French national championships. Bouhanni is known for his love of boxing and aggressive sprinting.
"When I arrived in 2015, I had to find my bearings. I only won my first victory in April. Two years later, I’ve won 24 races, including seven at WorldTour level, a Coupe de France and the Europe Tour ranking. My move has been successful and my results can only be seen as positive. Stability brings serenity, which is why I chose to extend my contract,” Bouhanni said in a statement from the Cofidis team.
“It was important for me to finalize this agreement early because I like to know what the future brings. The Cofidis team and its leaders, Thierry Vittu, Yvon Sanquer and all the staff, trust me. Cofidis the Professional Continental Pro team is most often invited to WorldTour races. This allows me to have a calendar that matches my goals to my objectives and the races that are close to my heart.”
Extending the joint-venture, hoping for Tour de France success
Cofidis team manager Yvon Sanquer sees Bouhanni contract extension, which he describes as ‘joint-venture’, as key to the team’s future success.
“The recruitment of one of the world's best sprinters in 2015 has helped to structure the team's way of running, which has been a source of learning and progress for the entire group,” Sanquer said.
“He has confidence in our ability to accompany him for the best years of his career and it demonstrates the quality of each team's work. Nacer is reaching maturity and I am convinced that his already awarded prize will be enriched with even more beautiful victories."
Thierry Vittu, the President of Cofidis Competition and HR Director of the Cofidis Group, called on Bouhanni to finally win a stage at the Tour de France. Cofidis were awarded a wild card invitation to the Tour de France by organiser ASO and recently secured a place at the Vuelta a Espana.
"It is an honour to have one of the best sprinters in the world. Since his arrival, Bouhanni has won many races at the highest level. We told him of our desire to continue our joint venture and it proved to be a reciprocal feeling. It's great for everyone: for him, for the team, for Cofidis,” Vuttu said.
“We rely on his potential and his desire to win to further strengthen his record and that of the Cofidis team. We’re especially counting on a stage victory at the Tour de France."