In the Tour de France a la Voile, 'Everyone wanted to win that one,' said Sodebo skipper Thomas Coville. 'It was the longest one, crossing the English Channel downwind, in strong current and fighting hard with Nicolas Troussel on Bretagne. It was the dream leg and it changed the game too.'
Sodebo crew celebrates after winning offshore leg to Brest in the 2013 Tour de France a la Voile
Coville’s men were the first to cross the line at 3:07pm in Brest after 28 hours of sailing in 15 to 25 knots of wind from the NE.
The fleet departed Deauville and sailed a tight reach to Barfleur, followed by a tense downwind sail north of the Cotentin peninsula, arriving before the tidal change at Blanchard. In the dark of night they sailed southwest, threading the Channel islands under spinnakers and watchful eyes.
Sodebo and Bretagne Crédit Mutuel Elite owe their success to a night time tactical decision. Both teams opted for an offshore route in search of more wind. At dawn Sodebo crossed ahead of Groupama 34 and Courrier Dunkerque 3. Bretagne Crédit Mutuel was right behind them.
Tour de France a la Voile 2013 - Sodebo wins offshore leg to Brest, France
'Nicolas pulled what we've come to call ‘a Troussel’: managing the wind better than the others,' said helmsman Félix Pruvot. 'It put us back in the game. This was a leg for Bretagne because we are took hold of the offshore leader’s green spinnaker.'
Sunburnt and fatigued, the sailors faces speak to how happy they are to see the rankings shaken up at last. Groupama 34 are still leading overall but their fourth place scored with a factor f 5 impact their lead: Bretagne Crédit Mutuel is 27 points behind and Courrier Dunkerque 40 points. Sodebo are fourth overall and Team OmanSail, eighth today, take fifth overall. Martinique BE Brussels amateurs take a great sixth place today in Brest but are not leading the amateur ranking yet; Normandie keep the pink spinnaker.
'Nothing is done yet,' concludes Coville while drinking champagne. 'The leaders themselves are at risk and that’s the spirit of the Tour de France.'
Thomas Coville, Sodebo skipper: ‘’We fought until the end. Jean-Luc Nélias got us started and the team gave it all to fight Nicolas Troussel and his guys. They really wanted to win as well. This is the proof that nothing is done: even the leaders are at doubt today and that’s the spirit of the Tour de France.
'At dawn we crossed ahead of Nicolas Troussel but he caught us back thanks to a great option. Nicolas is a true warrior, who never gives up and always keeps trying. An unpredictable boy, he never lets go. I like him a lot for that. He attacked us until the final channel and it was a great fight.'
Nicolas Troussel, Bretagne Crédit Mutuel Elite skipper: 'Everything happened at the Portsall mark. Sodebo did a great tack and left us behind. We came back on them in the Four and were right behind them at Vieux Moines. Afterwards we didn’t get more opportunities to come back. We are really happy with our race anyway and leading the offshore ranking is great news.'
Daniel Souben, Courrier Dunkerque 3 skipper: 'We were delighted to race with Groupama but it’s not a great result in terms of points. We are not winning much points to Franck and we are losing lots to Bretagne Crédit Mutuel Elite and Sodebo.’’
Overall ranking after 14 races before jury:
1 Groupama 34, Cammas Franck 577 Pts - Blue Spinnaker
2 Bretagne Credit Mutuel Elite, Troussel Nicolas 550 Pts
3 Courrier Dunkerque 3, Souben Daniel 537 Pts
4 Sodebo, Coville Thomas 529,9 Pts
5 Team Omansail, Pouligny Cédric 508 Pts
6 Toulon Provence Mediterranee - Coych, Bernaz Jean-Baptiste 467 Pts
7 Ville De Geneve - Carrefour Addictions, Mettraux Elodie-Jane Et Groux Nicolas 457 Pts
8 Nantes - Saint Nazaire - E.Leclerc, Douguet Corentin 452 Pts
9 Normandie, Choquenet Baptiste 403 Pts
10 Martinique - Be.Brussels, Wolters Delphine Et Moures Matthieu 392 Pts
11 Iskareen, Dittmers Christiane Et Bruhns Sönke 390 Pts
12 Bienne - Voile – Srs, Peter Luzius Et Kunz François 358 Pts
Offshore ranking after four races before jury:
1 Bretagne Credit Mutuel Elite, Troussel Nicolas 335 Pts - Green Spinnaker
2 Groupama 34, Cammas Franck 331 Pts
3 Courrier Dunkerque 3, Souben Daniel 313 Pts(...)
Technical ranking after 10races before jury:
1 Groupama 34, Cammas Franck 246 Pts
2 Courrier Dunkerque 3, Souben Daniel 224 Pts - Red Spinnaker
3 Sodebo, Coville Thomas 218 Pts (...)
Amator ranking after 14 races before jury:
1 Normandie, Choquenet Baptiste 403 Pts - Pink Spinnaker
2 Martinique - Be.Brussels, Wolters Delphine Et Moures Matthieu 392 Pts
3 Iskareen, Dittmers Christiane Et Bruhns Sönke 390 Pts
4 Bienne - Voile – Srs, Peter Luzius Et Kunz François 358 Pts
Tour Voile website