AMIENS, France (VN) — French ace Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) is out of the Tour de France after crashing early in Wednesday’s 189.5km fifth stage.
Bouhanni hit the pavement with several Cofidis teammates in a pileup about 15km into the hilly stage from Arras to Amiens. Race radio reported that the former French national champion was transported to a local hospital in an ambulance.
Bouhanni also crashed 10 days ago at the French National Championships, where he injured his ribs. He said afterward he would miss the Tour because of that crash, but he was able to start last Saturday in Utrecht, Netherlands.
Cofidis manager Yvon Sanquer, according to AFP, said Bouhanni did not break any bones in Wednesday’s tumble, saying he will be out for 8-10 days.
Cofidis sport director Didier Rous told French TV Bouhanni “again hurt his injured ribs,” reports AFP.
The peloton woke up to sloppy conditions for Wednesday’s fifth stage, with rain, cool temperatures and gusting winds, assuring what will be a tense, nervous day in the saddle. Despite a rolling profile, most expect the 2015 Tour’s first mass gallop finale into Amiens.
Riding in his second Tour, Bouhanni was questionable about starting this year’s edition after crashing heavily in the finale of the French national championships a week before taking the start in Utrecht.
The 24-year-old Bouhanni has emerged as France’s best sprinter over the past few seasons, picking up wins in both the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España. Two victories at the Critérium du Dauphiné in June bolstered his confidence before the Tour.
Bouhanni is the latest rider to crash out in what’s been a costly first week. Others already out of the Tour include Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing), who crashed in the yellow jersey Monday and did not start Tuesday, Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEdge), and Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin).