Courrier Dunkerque for a third time
After three final inshore races today in Nice, Daniel Souben and his crew won the Tour de France à la Voile. It is the third time that the Courrier Dunkerque team finishes the event at the top of the podium, after winning the race twice in a row in 2008 and 2009.
Last year’s champion Groupama 34, which managed to get to within 7 points of the race leader just a few days ago, proved not strong enough to beat the champions.
The key to Daniel Souben’s success this year has been an incredible consistancy, in both inshore and offshore races, and fantastic team work.
"Our strength also comes from the fact that our crew remained the same from the beginning to the end," explained skipper Daniel Souben. "Before we would have brought some fresh blood to the team for the Mediterranean, but this time we were the same nine crew from Dunkerque to Nice."
The two rivals have offered some exceptionnal sailing moments. In Bréhat, for example, the two boats started a crazy match-racing duel a few metres from the rocky shoreline. Groupama 34 performed well in the inshore races, but missed two major high scoring offshore legs, which ended up costing them dearly. Every single mistake in this year’s race cost a lot for both teams. And one of the reasons for that might be the new one-design sails that the teams received just before the event started in Dunkerque that leveled the competition.
Groupama 34 also had an amazing crew, with Fabien Henry (who has 12 Tours under his belt as a skipepr or project manager, including five victories) as a skipper for the Atlantic side of the race, and Franck Cammas for the Mediterranean. "It was a fierce battle until the end and it was not easy at the beginning of the Mediterranean when we saw Franck stepping onboard and winning a few races in a row. He has this ability to gather and motivate his troups and it could be intimidating. But we never stopped believing in a possible victory. We stayed strong until the end," said Souben.
Third place on the podium was only decided today in Nice. Bretagne Crédit Mutuel Elite was still third this morning when they left the dock, but Team Oman Sail managed to reach their goal, stepping up on the podium for the first time in four participations in the the Tour de France à la Voile. The Omani crew led by Sidney Gavignet was in difficulty in the Mediterranean sailed better in the last few days. Last night they were three points behind Nicolas Troussel's team, and the three races today in Nice were enough for Oman Sail to win the few points they were missing to realise their dream.
The Corinthian team Normandy Acerel can also be proud of its performance in this Tour. Baptiste Choquenet's team won the Corinthian ranking but also finished fifth overall, ahead of the professionnal team Ville de Genève - Carrefour Addictions. The Normans sailed really well since they arrived in the Med. The team quickly found their marks with their new crew, including match-racer Cédric Château and Figaro sailor Alexis Loison.
Although Nantes Saint-Nazaire shined in the last few races, it was not enough to get back in contact with Normandy-Acérel. Jean-Baptiste Gellée and his team finished seventh overall, ahead of the young crew of Toulon Provence Méditerranée Coych who struggled finding their rhythm with their new crew members stepping onboard for the Med.
The Belgian-Swiss team Be- Brussels – Bienne Voile finished 9th but will keep great memories of this Tour de France à la Voile. They have learnt a lot and never stopped progressing from Dunkerque to Nice. They deserve a trophy for their cheerfulness and their dedication.
1 Courrier Dunkerque 3, Daniel Souben 1038 pts
2 Groupama 34, Franck Cammas 1020 pts
3 Team OmanSail, skipper, Sidney Gavignet 956 pts
4 Bretagne - Crédit Mutuel Elite, skipper Nicolas Troussel 954 pts
5 Normandy – Acerel, Baptiste Choquenet 917 pts
6 Ville de Genève – Carrefour Addictions, Nicolas Groux 898 pts
7 Nantes Saint-Nazaire, Jean-Baptiste Gellée 882 pts
8 Toulon Provence Méditerranée, Florian Simonnot 870 pts
9 Be Brussels Bienne Voile, Delphine Wolters and Olivier Bessire 776 pts
1 Courrier Dunkerque 3, Daniel Souben 441 pts
2 Bretagne – Crédit Mutuel Elite, Nicolas Troussel 407 pts
3 Groupama 34, 406 pts (…)
1 Groupama 34, Franck Cammas 614 pts
2 Courrier Dunkerque 3, Daniel Souben 597 pts
3 Team Oman Sail, Sidney Gavignet 557 pts (…)
1 Normandy - Acerel, Baptiste Choquenet 917 pts
2 Toulon Provence Méditerranée, Florian Simonnot 882 pts
3 Nantes Saint-Nazaire, Jean-Baptiste Gellée 870 pts
4 Be Brussels Bienne Voile, Delphine Wolters et Olivier Besire 776 pts