Nacer Bouhanni will miss the Tour de France after undergoing surgery on his right hand, which he injured in an altercation with three men at a hotel in the early hours of Sunday morning.
The 25-year-old was staying in the hotel in Besançon with other members of his Cofidis team on the eve of the French national road championships.
According to the team, the sprinter and his brother Rayane were continually disturbed by noise from drunken guests in an adjacent room.
When Bouhanni – a pretty decent boxer who has said he will focus on that sport when his cycling career ends – remonstrated with them, he was assaulted, Cofidis says.
During the scuffle, the cyclist sustained a hand injury that required four stitches, while newspaper reports suggest one of his alleged assailants lost two teeth.
In a statement, the team said that the wound had not been treated properly, leading Bouhanni to undergo an operation in Nancy yesterday evening.
With his long-term health in mind, the team has therefore decided to pull the rider from the race, with his place taken by Nicolas Edet.
Bouhanni is equally combative on the bike as in the ring.
In March, he was relegated after winning a sprint at Paris-Nice after clashing with Orica-GreenEdge’s Michael Matthews, and last month headbutted Katusha’s Alexandre Kristoff towards the end of a stage in the Critérium du Dauphiné.
A winner of five stages in the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a Espana, Bouhanni is still looking for his first stage victory in his home Grand Tour – and will now have to wait another 12 months for his next chance.
Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.