Three stage wins and the red jersey at the Giro d’Italia were still not enough to convince FDJ.fr to part with their original plans and send Nacer Bouhanni to the Tour de France.
A bitterly disappointed Bouhanni, who was subsequently beaten to the French national title by the man who beat him to a Tour spot, Arnaud Demare, has since signed a contract to join Cofidis for next season.
Bouhanni, however, has bounced back – following a stage win at Ardooie at the Eneco Tour with victory on stage two of the Vuelta a Espana.
It was the 24-year-old’s fourth Grand Tour win of the season, having started the season without ever having won one, and was a reminder of what FDJ.fr were missing at the Tour.
He was unable to follow it up on stage five, however, getting his tactics wrong and finding himself boxed in – despite his protestations otherwise.
Nevertheless, his move to Cofidis will seem him backed by a strong sprint train – with several new signings hand-picked by the Frenchman – but does see him drop down from WorldTour level.
If he can keep up the form he has shown this year, however, a maiden Tour de France stage win could well be in the offing in 2015.