Nacer Bouhanni faces UCI punishment but which one would be fair?
Mar 30 2021 01:55 am CET

Nacer Bouhanni faces UCI punishment but which one would be fair?
Nacer Bouhanni faces UCI punishment but which one would be fair?
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Arkea-Samsic's Nacer Bouhanni could face a disciplinary punishment by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) after the pushing incident at the end of the Cholet-Pays de la Loire.

One of the "bad boys" of cycling pushed Jake Stewart (Groupama-FDJ) against the barriers during the final sprint of the French race. Although the rider was disqualified by the UCI Commissaires' Panel after the competition, a punishment from the UCI is still pending.

The question that arises is: What kind of punishment should he receive in the wake of the awareness for sprint safety after the Tour de Pologne incident? Let's look back at the accident of the Polish race: Dylan Groenewegen in a strikingly similar move to Bouhanni's closed the path of Fabio Jakobsen during the final sprint of the first stage of the competition in 2020.

The result: The Dutch rider of Deceuninck-Quick-Step had to be in a medically-induced comma after the incident and suffered a severe head injury that included damage to his jaw and palate and the losing of most of his teeth; while Groenewegen was handed a nine-month suspension from cycling by the UCI.

Although and thankfully, the Bouhanni-Stewart incident didn't have that kind of serious consequences, the question about whether the actions or the consequences have to be punished now arises. Should riders be punished because of the dangerous moves and their potential outcomes or should the punishment be different depending on the final result of the actions?

In Civil Law, in most cases, you can't be punished for something that could have happened, but only for the things that actually occurred. Should teams make a lot of noise -like Patrick Lefevere did when he asked publicly for Groenewegen to be put in jail- for a big punishment or should we trust that the UCI has in place a system that is not known to the public and that states the kind of punishment each action deserves?

What is true is that there should be no tolerance for this kind of behaviour and nor the public, riders or teams should expect for the worst case scenario to happen to ask for the measures and punishments to be put in place for those that put the lives of others at risk.

Stewart himself tweeted a strong message after the disqualification of the Frenchman: "I would ask you what you was thinking...but you clearly have no brain cells. The ironic thing is, you told me I had 'no respect' after the finish." Thankfully for the Briton, he was unscathed to defend his case by himself.
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