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Nacer Bouhanni suffered a concussion following a training accident in Spain, team officials confirmed.
According to his Arkéa-Samsic team, Bouhanni lost consciousness briefly as a result of the crash Thursday. It’s not clear yet what caused the 31-year-old to fall.
The French sprinter was transferred to a nearby hospital in Benidorm, where he had stitches in his eyebrow. The team has been in the south of Spain for a pre-season training camp in recent weeks.
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“Nacer Bouhanni fell yesterday in training. Stitches were placed on his brow bone. And [he had] a slight loss of consciousness. He underwent further examinations at Benidorm hospital and has a concussion with headaches,” a team statement said.
It remains to be seen how Bouhanni’s injuries will impact the start of his 2022 program.
The Frenchman is scheduled to make his season debut at the five-day Saudi Tour at the start of February. Following that, he has the Clasica de Almeria and the Drome Classic in France, before he heads to Italy for Tirreno-Adriatico and Milano-Sanremo.
Nacer Bouhanni a chuté hier à l’entraînement des points de suture lui ont été posés sur l’arcade sourcilière, et une légère perte de connaissance. Il a passé des examens complémentaires à l’hôpital de Benidorm et présente une commotion cérébrale avec maux de tête.
— Team Arkéa Samsic (@Arkea_Samsic) January 21, 2022
Bouhanni is entering his third season with Arkéa-Samsic and is one of the team’s key riders alongside Nairo Quintana and Warren Barguil.
His 2021 season was marked by a two-month suspension after he bumped into Groupama-FDJ rider Jake Stewart at the GP Cholet-Pays De Loire. Bouhanni revealed afterward that he had received a torrent of racial abuse following the incident.
“I don’t dispute that there was a foul, that I changed my line, but it was in no way to harm my opponent. It was just to try to win the race,” Bouhanni told French sports daily L’Équipe in December. “I was really destabilized after this suspension by the UCI.
“It disgusted me so much that I don’t even want to talk about it anymore. It was very hard to accept. In fact, I didn’t understand everything about this story. It’s true that there was a mistake, but it was unimaginable that it would turn out this way.”
Among Bouhanni’s targets for 2022 is a stage win at the Tour de France. As the second-ranked ProTeam, the French squad is guaranteed a spot at the grand tour and Bouhanni is keen to finally notch up his first stage win at his home race.
“If I never make it, then I say to myself that it had to be this way. That’s life and it’s still sport. But I know that I will still do everything to get this stage victory in the Tour,” Bouhanni said.