Nacer Bouhanni suffers concussion in training crash

Tour de la Provence 2021 6th Edition 3rd stage AIstres Mont VentouxChalet Reynard 1539 km 13022021 Nacer Bouhanni FRA Team Arkea Samsic photo William Cannarella CVBettiniPhoto2021
Nacer Bouhanni (Arkéa-Samsic) at the 2021 Tour de la Provence (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Arkéa-Samsic sprinter Nacer Bouhanni has suffered a concussion having crashed during a training ride at the team's pre-season camp in Spain.

The French team announced that Bouhanni had fallen yesterday and suffered a "slight loss of consciousness". He was taken to hospital in Benidorm where he received stitches to his eyebrow and underwent further tests.

Bouhanni was set to start his 2022 campaign at the Saudi Tour, which runs from February 1-5, though it's not known how his crash and concussion will affect his early-season programme.

The 31-year-old is starting his third season with the ProTeam. He is due to take on the Clásica de Almería and Drôme Classic later in February ahead of his major early season goals in March: Tirreno-Adriatico and Milan-San Remo.

Last season, Bouhanni's season was disrupted by a two-month suspension handed down for dangerous sprinting after deviating from his line at the Cholet-Pays de la Loire, forcing Groupama-FDJ's Jake Stewart into the barriers which left the Briton with a fractured hand.

Bouhanni revealed afterwards that he had received racist abuse following the incident, with Stewart and Groupama-FDJ responding with messages of support.

He returned to racing in the summer and participated in his fourth career Tour de France, where he picked up three podium spots – including a second place on stage 4 ­– before abandoning the race due to crash injuries in the Pyrenees.

The severity of Bouhanni's concussion hasn't been revealed, though the injury can have a major effect on riders' careers. 

Ian Boswell retired from road racing in 2019 after suffering long-term symptoms from the sixth concussion of his career at Tirreno-Adriatico, while former Saxo Bank pro Troels Vinther retired the same season following a severe concussion.

Last month, Trek-Segafredo rider Ellen van Dijk spoke about her struggle with the after-effects of a concussion suffered at Paris-Roubaix Femmes. 

"I still cannot train the normal number of hours or intensity that I would like to, so I still have to adjust and rest a lot more. Sometimes, I think it’s going quite well and then I have a complete off day and I cannot train. I’m still juggling with it but it’s going better and better," she said.

In late 2020, the UCI announced that it had adopted a 'concussion protocol' following Romain Bardet's high-profile crash at the Tour de France, which saw him ride on for 90 kilometres before being diagnosed with a 'small haemorrhage' on his brain afterwards.

The protocol, which can be read here, recommends the first people on the scene of a crash – whether they're team staff members, riders, or doctors – to check for signs of concussion such as feeling dazed, having trouble balancing, a headache, changes in vision, or slurred speech. 

Further assessments are also included in the protocol, as are recommended time periods before a rider can return to racing.

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