The Frenchman, who already has a win to his name this season after he claimed stage 2 at the Ruta del Sol, finished third in Kuurne behind winner Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo) and Alexander Kristoff (Katusha). The Trek rider soloed clear for the win, leaving Bouhanni, Kristoff and the remaining sprinters to contest the finish for the remaining podium places.
“It was difficult. I only had two teammates in the finale, Sénéchal and Lemoine. There was a lot of wind and the guys were coming at me from behind. I followed Kristoff and nearly got him on the line,” the Cofidis rider told reporters at the finish.
Bouhanni, who moved to Cofidis at the start of 2015 after splitting with FDJ, admitted that with Stuyven set to win the dynamic around the sprint for second changed.
“It wasn’t a sprint for the victory, so that’s different. It’s not the same to sprint for second place.”
Bouhanni has made no secret of his desire to win Milan-San Remo and the Frenchman will use Paris-Nice as a stepping stone in his plans.
“I’m not 100 per cent just yet, as planned. The real goals are still coming up with Paris-Nice and Milano-San Remo. That’s where I want to leave my mark.”