Tour de France a la Voile - Effective protection for Groupama 34

Groupama 34 - 2013 Tour de France a la Voile
By claiming the victory in the penultimate offshore sprint between Gruissan and La Seyne sur Mer, Franck Cammas and his crew have effectively protected Groupama 34 from a possible comeback by the second placed boat in the overall ranking, Bretagne Crédit Mutuel. What this means is that, barring major damage preventing them from taking the start of the next six round-the-cans races and the final offshore sprint to Marseille, the men of Groupama sailing team are sure to lift the event trophy this coming Saturday in the city where the skipper put in his very first tacks aboard an Optimist...

'This Tour de France is something we've been hounding. We've put in a great deal of work, put together a top notch team and the results speak for themselves. Don't think for one minute that it's been easy though!' Right away, the winner of the Tour de France 2013 sets the record straight by highlighting the quality of his rivals and what have often been very small margins separating the leaders, both in the round-the-cans races and the offshore sprints.

Contested on a one-design, which translates as all the competitors sailing on the same boat, this 36th Tour de France crowns a crew that has not overlooked a thing. Whether you're talking strategy, tactics, manoeuvres, preparation or the casting of the actors, Groupama has scored a clean sheet.

Of the 30 races contested since the start in Dunkirk on 28 June, Groupama 34 has won 18, which equates to more than one victory in every two races. Of the eight offshore sprints, the team has won five and boasts 13 wins of the 22 round-the-cans races run.

Leading from the very first day, Groupama 34 could have carried the three spinnakers handed out by the organisation that, like the jerseys in the cycle Tour de France, identify the leaders overall (blue spinnaker), offshore (green spinnaker) and inshore (red spinnaker). In the end it was in blue that Groupama 34 made its way along the coast of France. A colour which perfectly befits the French skipper, king of the crew, who is this year contesting his first Tour de France.

Don't go thinking that because he's virtually won the Tour that Franck Cammas is going to ease off the pace however. That's just not his way, particularly as the upcoming stage will be synonymous with a return to his roots.

Provisional overall ranking in La Seyne:

1. Groupama 34 with 1,137 points
2. Bretagne Crédit Mutuel : - 98 points
3. Courrier Dunkerque : - 98 points
4. Sodebo : - 110 points
5. OmanSail : - 153 points
6. TPM : - 236 points
7. Genève : - 242 points
8. Nantes St Nazaire : - 258 points
9. Normandie : - 311 points
10. Iskareen : - 352
11. Martinique Brussel : - 363 points
12. Bienne Voile : - 434 points

Groupama website