The Frenchman joined Arkéa-Samsic in the low season after being excluded from the Cofidis Tour selection in 2018 and 2019.He started this year with stage victories in the Saudi Tour and the Tour de la Provence, but will not participate in Tour 2020, where the Arkéa-Samsic team will be built around the overall challenge of Nairo Quintana.
“The Arkéa-Samsic team and I made this decision,” said Bouhanni on his team’s website.
“It is a decision that we made together and that has been carefully considered. I quickly got used to the idea when the Tour de France 2020 route was revealed. I quickly understood that it was mainly aimed at climbers.
“It is clear, however, that I still dream of the Tour de France. Winning a stage is always one of the main goals of my career. I know I haven’t had a chance to fully express myself on this race yet, but it will come in the future. The Tour remains a goal for me, that’s obvious. It’s a race that inspires me. “
The 29-year-old French rider has had a poorly played relationship with the Tour throughout his career. He was forced to give up due to illness when he started in 2013 and was later neglected in favor of Arnaud Démare in 2014, which led to his transfer from FDJ to Cofidis.
In 2015, Bouhanni abandoned the Tour during the opening week due to injuries sustained in accidents at the French Championships and during the first stages. A year later, Bouhanni missed the Tour after breaking his hand in an argument with another hotel guest at the French Championships.
Bouhanni finished the Tour in 2017 but was far from his best form after having crashed heavily at the Tour of Yorkshire.
“I talked about it with [team manager] Emmanuel Hubert and this year the course is not suitable for sprinters, “said Bouhanni of a course which sees climbing begin on the opening weekend in Nice.
“I would rather have opportunities in other races on this reorganized 2020 calendar rather than going on the Tour, where my chances of shining would obviously be reduced. If there had been seven or eight sprint stages on the course, the situation would have been different. “
Arkéa-Samsic not having been invited to any other Grand Tour in 2020, Bouhanni will not be able to add to his total of six stage victories at the Giro d’Italia or at the Vuelta a España. He has listed Milan-San Remo (due to take place on August 8 or 22) and the European Championships as targets for the reorganized 2020 calendar.
“I would normally start over at Vuelta a Burgos, and after that I want to have a great month of August,” said Bouhanni.
“I would like to be in good condition as soon as I restart. There are of course many very important races, like Milan-San Remo and the European Championships, which take place in Plouay. “
Emmanuel Hubert congratulated Bouhanni for moving away from a Tour team that will be built around Quintana and will also feature Warren Barguil.
“I am not surprised by the opening of Nacer, because in just a few months, I really knew the man behind the pilot very well,” said Hubert.
“His intellectual honesty and his professional spirit are to be welcomed. “