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Nacer Bouhanni escapes Tour disqualification after hitting Jack Bauer

Joseph Delves
12 Jul 2017

Cofidis rider struck Quickstep rival before later appearing to deliberately force Bauer off his line

French sprinter Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) has been handed a fine of 200 Swiss francs fine and a one minute relegation for hitting Jack Bauer (Quick-Step Floors) during Stage 10 of the Tour de France.

With sprinters apparently being under increased scrutiny at this year’s race given Peter Sagan's disqualification at the end of Stage 4, many have decried the punishment as too lenient.

The incident happened inside the last 10 kilometres of Stage 10 from Perigueux to Bergerac as the riders were pushing for position while trying to establish their lead out trains.

With the Quick-Step team trying to move up on the edge of the road, footage from the helicopter camera shows Bauer bumping into Bouhanni, who then takes his hand off of the bar to hit the New Zealander (you can view the incident via Eurosport here).

Bauer then appears to remonstrate with Bouhanni. However, speaking on the Belgian Sporza programme Vive le Vélo following the stage, Bauer didn’t seem overly troubled by the event.

'I wouldn't say I was involved in an incident. I think he was trying to defend his space behind his leadout, his rider. Which any rider is going to do. I wouldn't call it an incident. It's a heat of the moment. You have to create space, position... I have no problem with what happened.'

Measured response

A measured response indeed, especially since it has since emerged that there was a further incident between the riders inside the final kilometre, when Bouhanni looked behind him and on spotting that it was Bauer coming up on his outside, appeared to deliberately swerve off his line in an attempt to force the Quick-Step rider wide. 

In the end, the move didn't stop Quick-Step fast man Marcel Kittel from winning what was his fourth stage of the 2017 Tour, despite receiving little in the way of a significant leadout. Bouhanni finished sixth.

One rider who will certainly be questioning the relative leniency of Bouhanni's punishment is World Champion Peter Sagan, who was kicked off the race for allegedly causing the crash that ended Mark Cavendish's Tour at the end of Stage 4. 

The CHF200 fine will hardly leave Bouhanni struggling to pay the bills, while the time penalty will be meaningless to a rider who is down in 155th place overall, already nearly an hour and a half behind.

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