The international cycling union UCI has in a statement on Wednesday distanced itself from the racist insults that Nacer Bouhanni has to endure. The Frenchman with Algerian roots is the head of Jut after his dangerous action last week in the French one-day race Cholet-Pays de la Loire.
“No matter how serious Bouhanni’s action was, it does not justify insulting him,” the UCI wrote in a statement on Wednesday. “We would like to emphasize once again that we are committed to fighting all forms of discrimination.”
Thirty-year-old Bouhanni almost drove Jake Stewart into the gates in the bunch sprint by cutting him off. The 21-year-old Briton narrowly stayed on the bike, but suffered a fracture in his hand. Bouhanni has suffered on social media since the incident and Monday was the measure full for the Arkéa Samsic rider.
“Hello pranksters who like to send messages that I have to go back to Africa, that I am a criminal, that I should be locked up as a North African and are constantly sending me pig emojis,” Bouhanni wrote on Instagram Stories. “You should know that I was born in France and that I am going to file a complaint. I am fed up”
The Frenchman received support from an unexpected source, because of all things Stewart took it on for him on Tuesday morning. “Despite our disagreements, I stand side by side with Nacer. The racist insults against him are sad. There is no place in this world for racism. The so-called cycling fans who have made these comments are not welcome here,” the Briton wrote. Groupama-FDJ on Twitter.
After the incident in Cholet-Pays de la Loire, Bouhanni had already apologized for his dangerous action, which is currently under investigation by the UCI disciplinary committee. The cycling association announced at the end of March that it would demand a sanction.