Procycling - - Debrief -

Nacer Bouhanni cel­e­brated his 27th birth­day two days af­ter the fin­ish of the Tour de France, but the Cofidis sprinter might not have been in the mood for cel­e­brat­ing. The over­rid­ing im­pres­sion with Bouhanni is that he is not ful­fill­ing his po­ten­tial, though this is largely for the rea­son that he hasn’t added to the five stages he’s won be­tween the Giro and Vuelta with a Tour stage. Un­til he does, he’s likely to labour un­der the weight of that gap on his pal­marès. But per­haps the ex­pec­ta­tions are sim­ply too high.

Bouhanni is con­sis­tently the high­est ProConti rider on the rolling cqrank­ points sys­tem. But it’s a sys­tem which re­wards reg­u­lar high results as much as bril­liance, and Bouhanni is stuck – he’s scored al­most ex­actly the same num­ber of points for the last three sea­sons (1,155, 1,171 and 1,176, and he’s on 977 so far this year…). His best re­sult of 2017 has been a win in Nokere Ko­erse, and he’s had a string of plac­ings – sec­ond in the French na­tion­als and third in Schelde­prijs – but his high­est at the Tour, in a race favourable to sprint­ers, was fourth. Bouhanni has a com­plex tem­per­a­ment at the best of times – he won’t be happy at all with the fact his ca­reer seems to be plateau­ing.

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