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JAKE STEWART FORCED TO ABANDON FLANDERS FOLLOWING BOUHANNI INCIDENT

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British rider Jake Stewart said on Tuesday he broke a bone in his left hand when he was ridden into the barriers by Nacer Bouhanni in the final sprint of Cholet-Pays de Loire race. The Groupama-FDJ’s  rider will miss the upcoming cobbled classics, including Sunday’s Tour of Flanders.

“We thought and was hoping that it was just superficial,” the 21-year-old tweeted.

“But this mornings x-ray showed a fractured second metacarpal after Sundays Cholet Pays de la Loire.

“Gutted to say the least to be missing De Ronde (Tour of Flanders) this week, but full focus now for recovering and getting back on the bike.”

French sprinter Bouhanni shouldered Stewart with some 200m to go on Sunday. Stewart stayed on his bike as his left shoulder and arm left were crushed against the crash barriers.

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“I’m obviously disappointed not to ride in the upcoming Flanders classics, especially as I had very good legs. I can’t help it, that’s part of the sport,” he said in a team statement.

“I can be satisfied with my physical condition, so I will take time to recover and hopefully come back as strong,” added Stewart, who finished second in Het Nieuwsblad at the end of February.

On Monday, Bouhanni admitted to having “made a mistake”.

“I want to say I’m sorry for Jake Stewart,” said the Arkea-Samsic rider, explaining he only had eyes for eventual winner Elia Viviani.

“I admit that my mistake was to change the trajectory to catch his wheel and didn’t see Jake Stewart at that moment. When we made contact with each other, I was thrown off balance and caught myself as best I could so as not to fall… In no way was it intentional”.

Bouhanni’s apology followed a call by the International Cycling Union (UCI) for sanctions against him. The UCI “strongly condemned the dangerous conduct”.

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RBA/AFP Photo: Bettini

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