Arkéa–Samsic to create ‘sprinter unit’ around new signing Bouhanni

Signing of Bouhanni sees French second-tier outfit further bolstering their ranks in bid 'to be seen as a WorldTour team.'

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Arkéa-Samsic announced the signing of French sprinter Nacer Bouhanni on Wednesday, just the day after confirming that André Greipel is stepping away from the team,

Former French champion Bouhanni hasn’t crossed the line first since his stage win at Four Days of Dunkirk in May 2017, and leaves Arkea’s rival French team, Cofidis, after five seasons of mixed results. Bouhanni, a sprinter notorious for his fierce temperament and ill-discipline, will fill the void left by the recent departure of German veteran Greipel.

The Breton outfit plan to make Bouhanni the focus of their challenge for sprint victories in 2020, also signing Brit Dan Mclay from EF Education First to act as a leadout man.

“We know that 70 per cent of races are sprinting,” said Emmanuel Hubert, general manager of Arkea-Samsic. “We had to strengthen this area. In 2020, we want to be seen as a WorldTour team.”

“Nacer Bouhanni will be our number one sprinter,” added Hubert. “He has been through two difficult years, he must regain his confidence and build an understanding with his lead-out men.”

“I’m going to start next season as if I’ve never won anything,” said Bouhanni, who has amassed 18 WorldTour victories, only to see his form falter in recent years.

The Frenchman also acknowledged his troublesome reputation, saying, “I have made mistakes in my career, sometimes in communication, sometimes in behavior, but I am not a bad boy.”

Bouhanni’s signing marks another high-profile addition to the Arkéa-Samsic roster. The Breton outfit is also assembling a strong GC force with recent signings of Nairo and Dayer Quintana, Winner Anacona, and Diego Rosa, supplementing the climbing strength of Warren Barguil.