Nacer Bouhanni is the Vuelta sprinter

Grand Tour sprint days have had a surprisingly small cast this year. Marcel Kittel started the Giro as if he was going to win every single flat stage. Then, when he dropped out of the race, Nacer Bouhanni took over. In the Tour, Kittel again looked totally dominant and while he actually waned a bit, this was compensated for by the high profile win on the final day.

Now we get to the Vuelta and again it’s Bouhanni. On this slim evidence, Degenkolb and his moustache are the only ones who might challenge the Frenchman on flat finishes. But this is the Vuelta. Flat finishes aren’t exactly ten a euro cent and while Bouhanni was famously once a boxer, a puncheur he ain’t.

Stage three

Take stage three, for example. After a 1.5km 6% slope there are just a couple of hundred metres to the line. I like these sorts of finishes. They’re so spectacularly grey. I love a cyclist who can sort-of-sprint and sort-of-climb. Peter Sagan, Michael Matthews and John Degenkolb all fit this description. Could Bouhanni get amongst them?