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Nacer Bouhanni subjected to online racist abuse after Cholet sprint incident

BELLEGARDE FRANCE FEBRUARY 03 Nacer Bouhanni of France and Team Arkea Samsic during the 51st toile de Bessges Tour du Gard 2021 Stage 1 a 14355km stage from Bellegarde to Bellegarde 57m EDB2020 on February 03 2021 in Bellegarde France Photo by Luc ClaessenGetty Images
(Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Nacer Bouhanni (Arkéa-Samsic) has highlighted the racist abuse that he has endured on social media in the aftermath of his clash with Jake Stewart at last week’s Cholet-Pays de la Loire.

The Frenchman was relegated to the back of the bunch for deviating from his line, and the UCI has since referred the incident to its disciplinary commission. Stewart avoided crashing but sustained a broken hand after brushing against the barriers.

In an interview with L’Équipe TV last week, Bouhanni accepted his relegation for deviating from his line in the sprint but firmly denied that there had been any malicious intent to his manoeuvre.

The Arkéa-Samsic rider restated his case in a lengthy social media post this weekend, writing: “Actively wanting to injure someone and put my rival’s life at risk as well as my own, that’s crazy talk.”

On Monday, Bouhanni posted screenshots on Instagram of some of the racist abuse he has received on social media over the past week. The former French champion wrote that he had long been the subject of racist abuse, adding that he intended to file a police complaint against his abusers.

“Hello to all the little jokers who have been amusing themselves for the last week by writing to me personally or commenting on certain cycling websites that I should go back to Africa, that I am a criminal, that I am a North African who needs to be interned and who are constantly sending me [pig emojis],” Bouhanni wrote on Instagram.

“You should know that I was born in France and that I am going to file a complaint, because I have been putting up with this for a long time already and I’ve kept quiet, but this time I won’t let it go anymore.”

In an Instagram story, Bouhanni posted screenshots of racist abuse in English, Dutch and Spanish posted on social media in response to media reports regarding the incident, as well as a racist and abusive direct message addressed to him in English.

Bouhanni competed at La Roue Tourangelle on Sunday, where he placed second in a bunch sprint behind his former teammate Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ).

“He was stronger than me,” Bouhanni said. “48 hours ago, I didn't even know if I was going to take part in this race. I had a very complicated week. It's a second place, and that’s incidental for me because only victory counts, but we can say that this performance was reassuring.”