Jack Bauer has spoken up about the incident with Nacer Bouhanni in stage 10 of the Tour de France. The Quick-Step Floors lead out man was the unfortunate recipient of a swung arm from Bouhanni who vented his frustration at Bauer apparently getting a little too close in the closing kilometres of the stage; won once again by Bauer’s teammate Marcel Kittel.
The incident in question took place 7.3km away from the sprint finish in Bergerac. Quick-Step Floors were beginning to make their way forward through the peloton to position Marcel Kittel for the sprint, and Jack Bauer was sitting towards the front of the Quick-Step Floors train. While the boys in blue were passing Cofidis on the right hand side of the road it appeared that Bauer just bumped into Bouhanni accidentally. That prompted an angry response from Bouhanni who took a swipe at Bauer with the race motoring along at some 55kph.
Bouhanni was fined 200 Swiss Francs as well as being penalised 1 minute, something that Bauer’s general manager Patrick Lefevre has labelled ‘a joke’. Cycling Weekly spoke to Lefevre and Bauer, with the former saying, “How can you give someone a one-minute penalty if they are already one hour, 29 minutes behind the yellow jersey? It’s a joke.”
“They don’t have to put them out of the race, but at least give him a 10,000 euro [fine] and say ‘listen, you pay all of that to a charity and if we see it again, it’s over’. But not 200 Swiss francs, which could pay for the Champagne for the evening.”
Bauer weighed in on the situation, saying that it was something that he was quickly able to forget about. “I put it behind me the second that it occurred and refocussed on the sprint,” Bauer explained. “That’s what we are here to do, win races and not to make petty comments or make annoyances in the bunch.”
It turned out that Jack Bauer wasn’t expecting there to be a time penalty after the stage, although he did take the time to explain that this sort of thing does not come unexpectedly to him. “It’s not a granfondo, it’s not a charity or a bunch ride, it’s the Tour de France and it’s a high stakes, fast, aggressive sprint final. I come into a sprint finish like that expecting aggression from other riders and rival teams, especially from other rival teams who are under pressure to win.”
“I understand that Bouhanni needs to win, Cofidis needs to win. They are in France and they have a big sprinter here. It’s obvious they will be aggressive and do what they can to beat Marcel, but unfortunately at this Tour de France, it’s not going to happen.”