2014 Tour Voile announced
Amaury Sport Organisation has unveiled the route of the Tour de France à la Voile 2014.
The new course is designed to take three weeks (rather than four) to complete and will focus on the English Channel and the Mediteranean. Eight cities will welcome the fleet this year. From Dunkirk to Nice, the teams will cover a total of 900 miles around the French coast. With 24 inshore races, six offshore legs and four nights at sea, the pace of the race will as always be gruelling.
“A three-week event makes for a denser and more exciting race for the fans and suits the teams’ budgets," explains Event Director, Jean-Baptiste Durier. "We also chose to move the Tour de France à la Voile a week later in July so that it starts with the summer holidays.”
Looking at this new route, Race Director Christophe Gaumont explained the balance between four stopovers in the north of France and another four in the south of the country. The fleet will stop in Dunkirk, Dieppe, Granville and Roscoff before crossing over to the Med, starting from Roses, Spain, followed by Gruissan, Hyères and Nice.
In 2014, another key change will be the arrival of a second class competing in the event. The Grand Surprise one designs are being aimed at youth and amateurs teams, and will compete next to the professional teams on the M34s. It is easier to handle for amateur crews and it is substantially cheaper to campaign.
Yann Le Moënner, A.S.O. General Director explains: “One of our objectives in 2014 is to re-establish the Tour’s history, an event always open to both the professionels and the amateurs. We had to make sure the conditions would be favourable for young and amateur teams to join – they are part of the Tour’s DNA. For different reasons, including economical ones, they almost disappeared from the start line in the past years. That’s why we are adding the Grand Surprise as the second one-design fleet of the Tour 2014.”
As for the professionals, Groupama 34’s skipper Franck Cammas won the 2013 race and will be announcing his intention to compete in the next few days. Daniel Souben (Courrier Dunkerque 3) and double Solitaire du Figaro winner Nicolas Troussel (Bretagne Crédit Mutuel Elite) are looking forward to July already, just like many of the Tour’s loyal competitors attending the route announcement today.
Foreign teams are also lining up include the German team Iskareen, the Belgium project of Mady Fobert, Leonid Klepikov’s Russian team (a 2012 competitor) or the Swiss teams Ville de Genève - Carrefour AddictionS and Bienne Voile - SRS.
Yann Le Moënner concluded: "The Tour de France à la Voile 2013 has gone through a lot of changes. Some of sailing’s great names entered the race, making for some very interesting races and catching the attention of both the media and the public. A lot of visitors went through the race villages thanks to the activities we organised in July. Life ashore has been reorganised with the presence of a beach area and an advertising convoy in addition to the race village. The Tour de France à la Voile is more and more successful and we are delighted to see so.
“We are working on the future of the event, committed to make it a great summer celebration. One of our objectives in 2014 is to re-establish the Tour’s history, an event always open to both professionels and amateurs. We had to make sure the conditions would be favourable for young and amateur teams to join – they are part of the Tour’s DNA. For different reasons, including economical ones, they almost disappeared from the start line in the past years. That’s why we are adding the Grand Surprise as the second one-design fleet of the Tour 2014. Thanks to this well-known and accessible boat, we hope to see many competitors race along the French coast this summer just next to the Elite fleet in M34.”