Nacer Bouhanni, the Cofidis sprinter and supposed team leader withdrew from the Tour de France yesterday. At the weekend he had stitches to his hand after reportedly punching a fellow guest and knocking out their tooth in an altercation in a hotel in Besançon.
He attempted to race in the National Championship the next day but withdrew after a few laps, citing exhaustion from lack of sleep having spent the best part of the night in hospital receiving treatment. Cofidis insisted that he would be in shape for the Tour which starts on Saturday in Mont Saint Michel.
Since then they have withdrawn him from the race saying that his injury had been "badly dealt with". With the situation deteriorating, former boxer Bouhanni was operated on Tuesday at the University Hospital in Nancy. "They said they didn't want to take any risks with the athlete's health who would be focusing on other goals for the remaining season." Bouhanni had been looking strong with seven recent victories including a stage win at this year's Dauphiné.