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VN news ticker: Nacer Bouhanni defends Cholet-Pays de la Loire sprint

Here's the news making headlines for Sunday, April 4.

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Nacer Bouhanni on Cholet-Pays de la Loire sprint incident: ‘I’m not a thug’

Nacer Bouhanni defiantly responded to a wave of criticism after his move on Groupama-FDJ’s Jake Stewart in the Cholet-Pays de la Loire last weekend left the British sprinter with a broken hand.

Stewart later spoke with Rouleur about the incident, saying “I saw my life flash before my eyes” as he was sent tumbling into the barriers by the Frenchman’s maneuver.

The Arkea-Samsic sprinter responded to a tide of angry reactions to the incident via a statement on Twitter on Friday.

“You can say I’m a sprinter who takes risks and doesn’t give up position, who’s aggressive, who does everything to win … You can say anything you want, but throw [a rider] into the barriers for trying to win a cycling race, that’s pure madness.

“Actively wanting to injure someone and put my rival’s life at risk as well as my own, that’s crazy talk … I’m not a thug,”

“Concerning Jake Stewart, he is young and he will do other sprints – for a long time, I hope. If he really saw his life flash like he said in that interview, I would advise him to give up sprinting. Everyone knows there are risks, unfortunately. This is not The Care Bears; sometimes there are crashes, but that’s part of cycling.

“And I repeat, I never wanted to cause his crash. I have no interest in wanting to put us in danger.”

Bouhanni had issued a public apology last week after the UCI confirmed it was opening disciplinary procedures against him.