Stewart shows support for Bouhanni after Frenchman receives racist abuse

Nacer Bouhanni (Arkea-Samsic) at Paris-Nice
Nacer Bouhanni (Arkea-Samsic) at Paris-Nice (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Jake Stewart (Groupama-FDJ) is among the riders who have expressed solidarity with Arkéa-Samsic sprinter Nacer Bouhanni after the Frenchman revealed he had suffered racist abuse in the wake of their clash in the sprint at Cholet-Pays de la Loire last week.

Bouhanni, a Muslim of North African descent, posted several abusive messages he has received since the incident to Instagram on Monday, among them pig emojis and messages telling him to go back to Africa.

At Cholet-Pays de la Loire, he was relegated after deviating from his line on the dash to the finish, forcing Stewart to the barriers, with the Briton coming away with a fractured bone in his hand.

On Tuesday morning, Stewart posted a message to Twitter showing his support to Bouhanni and condemning the abuse he has received.

"Despite our recent difference of opinion, let's be absolutely clear, I stand united with Nacer Bouhanni," he wrote. "We will agree and disagree on certain things, but one thing that should not be of question is racism.

"The comments and racism directed towards Nacer this last week is absolutely deplorable. There is no place for racism in this world. To the so-called 'fans' of cycling that have made these comments, you are not welcome here."

Bouhanni revealed on Wednesday that the abuse was the 'last straw' and he pulled out of the Scheldeprijs even as the UCI condemned the abuse, stating "nothing justifies the insults he has been subject to".

Cofidis rider Luis Angel Maté and the Groupama-FDJ squad also posted messages of support on Twitter, with the French squad saying, "Bouhanni's words in L'Equipe are important and courageous. We send him our full support. We condemn the unacceptable and intolerable comments made against him."

In an interview with L'Equipe on Tuesday, Bouhanni said that the abuse he has received has left him unable to sleep and likened the messages to "a scar that has reopened little by little over the past few days."

As well as Stewart, Bouhanni's teammates – including Warren Barguil and Diego Rosa – posted messages of support to Instagram. Reza and Grégory Baugé ­– both of whom have spoken about the racism they've endured over the years – were among others to do the same.

His Arkéa-Samsic team also released a statement on Monday evening in which they condemned the attacks on Bouhanni and confirmed that he has filed a complaint against those who had sent him abuse.

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