VESOUL, France (AFP) – Nacer Bouhanni was forced to pull out of the French national championships on Sunday after injuring his hand in a fight the night before.
Bouhanni’s Cofidis team issued a statement saying the 25-year-old had been “assaulted by drunken people.”
Cofidis said that Bouhanni and his brother Rayane had been disturbed in their hotel room by an adjoining room.
“Nacer asked them to stop being a nuisance and was assaulted by drunken people,” said Cofidis.
“He hurt his right hand and was taken to hospital to get four stitches. He did not suffer a fracture.”
The team said the notoriously hot-headed sprinter had slept only two hours and pulled out of the French championships 40km from the finish.
The 2012 French champion was visibly struggling with his hand injury but Cofidis said his Tour de France participation is not in doubt.
The Grand Boucle begins on Saturday at Mont St Michel with a flat stage expected to end in a bunch sprint, in which Bouhanni would be one of the favourites.
FDJ’s Arthur Vichot won the French title at the end of a 248.9km course around Vesoul.