Bouhanni quits Volta a Catalunya

The Cofidis team have confirmed that Nacer Bouhanni did not start stage 2 of the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya due to an on-going bout of bronchitis.

The French sprinter was forced to quit Paris-Nice due to illness and was then not selected for Milan-San Remo. He hoped to get his spring back on track at the Volta a Catalunya but finished seventh in the stage 1 sprint.

Cofidis have confirmed that Bouhanni will now take a period of "complete rest to get back to 100% before he resumes training for his next races.” It is unclear when Bouhanni will return to racing.

Bouhanni is the Cofidis team leader but the French team has made a number of changes for 2018 in order to revive their flagging fortunes. They fired team manager Yves Sanquer during the winter and replaced him with former rider Cedric Vasseur. He has made some significant changes to the set-up around Bouhanni, particularly with the appointment of Roberto Damiani and reducing his lead-out train.

So far Bouhanni has accepted the changes and team orders, despite arguing that he was fit enough to ride Milan-San Remo. However he failed to win a sprint so far this season, with second behind Mark Cavendish on stage 3 at the Dubai Tour his best result.

Damiani told Cyclingnews that Bouhanni simply wasn’t fit and healthy enough to ride Milan-San Remo, pointing out that the success of the team always comes before individual ambitions.

"He was struck with a nasty bronchitis at Paris-Nice and we believe he isn't in great shape. Like every rider at Cofidis, Bouhanni knows that only the strongest, fittest riders can be selected for the biggest races," Damiani said.

“We've always got to put the good of the team before the good of everyone. He understands that and accepts that."

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