Who is Rayane Bouhanni?
First of all, he’s the younger brother of Nacer Bouhanni, winner of three stages and the points jersey at the 2014 Giro d’Italia. At the moment, people tend to remind this every time they are talking about him, but it won’t take long before they will speak of Rayane alone, because at just 19 he is one of the most talented riders in the U23 peloton, a very versatile cyclist, capable of making a name for himself from his first season at this level, which finds him in the roster of AWT-GreenWay (formerly known as Etixx-Ihned).
Rayane Bouhanni started cycling four years ago, inspired by his older brother, and the determination that characterizes also Nacer has helped him during his first season, when he got a victory and a 3rd place in the first two events he raced. After a quiet 2013 – which saw him getting just a handful of top 10 results – the French cyclist emerged on the Junior scene one year later, with an incredible run, during which he won five races and scored six more podiums, in some of the most prestigious junior races of the calendar.
One of the best moments of Rayane’s career was winning the French Championships, after a 139,5 km race, at the end of which he beat Léo Danes. That triumph came less than a month after taking the yellow jersey in the Tour de l’Abitibi, where he also won a stage along the way, ahead of Magnus Bak Klaris, from Denmark, the same rider who defeated him in the Course de la Paix (where Rayane made his debut with the national team), thanks only to time bonuses. Beside the killer instinct, all the races in which he went last year showed that Rayane Bouhanni isn’t similar to his brother, being more an all-rounder (fast in a sprint, but also very strong on the hills), who has the potential to become one of the best riders in the pro peloton in the years to come.
A natural born winner, the French cyclists received many offers for 2015, and finally chose to pursue his career in Belgium, with AWT-GreenWay, where he’s ready to learn, to gain experience, but also to prove himself in races like Paris-Roubaix or Liège-Bastogne-Liège. Many questioned his decision to leave France and go to a foreign team, but this move underlines Rayane Bouhanni’s bold character and his motivation for having a big season this year.