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 cqranking.com 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.