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Race leader Bouhanni abandons Volta a Catalunya due to illness

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Nacer Bouhanni celebrates winning stage 2 at Volta a Catalunya

Nacer Bouhanni celebrates winning stage 2 at Volta a Catalunya
(Image credit: Bettini)
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Nacer Bouhanni on the stage 1 podium at Volta a Catalunya

Nacer Bouhanni on the stage 1 podium at Volta a Catalunya
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Nacer Bouhanni holds up two fingers for the number of wins so far at Catalunya

Nacer Bouhanni holds up two fingers for the number of wins so far at Catalunya
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Nacer Bouhanni on the stage 1 podium at Volta a Catalunya.

Nacer Bouhanni on the stage 1 podium at Volta a Catalunya.
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis)

Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)

Volta a Catalunya race leader Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) pulled out of stage 3 on Wednesday. The Frenchman, who won the two opening stages, has been fighting an illness since Tuesday.

Bouhanni won stage 1 and stage 2 but he began losing time after about an hour of racing during stage 3 from Girona to La Molina and abandoned around kilometre 90 of the mountainous 172 kilometre stage.

Bouhanni had suffered early on stage 2 with stomach problems, but recovered enough to win the stage in Olot. Afterwards he spoke of trying to win at least one and possibly two more stages. However, Cofidis sports director Didier Rous had told Cyclingnews at the stage 3 start in Girona that the Frenchman continued to feel “poorly,” and that Bouhanni’s stomach problems had not gotten any better.

Volta a Catalunya website reported that Bouhanni lost around five minutes at kilometre 62 and over seven at kilometre 85. He then abandoned.

Britain’s Ben Swift (Sky), second in the opening day’s sprint and named by Bouhanni as his most dangerous sprint rival in Catalunya, is now by default the race leader on the road. However, that may change at La Molina’s uphill finish later today.