In the Tour de France a la Voile, the wind howled into Marseille to mark the last day of scored racing. After three in-port races, two first place finishes went to Groupama 34, confirming their supremacy over Courrier Dunkerque 3, who claimed second place overall. Britain Crédit Mutuel Elite claimed the third seat on the podium. Normandy captured first overall among a top-flight cast of amateur entries.
Onboard Groupama 34 - 2013 Tour de France a la Voile
37 races and 22 first place finishes for Franck Cammas' crew: the green boat dominated the 36th edition of the Tour. 'I'm not good at appreciation,' admitted the skipper, finally relaxed after being thrown into the water by his seven crewmates. 'But they know the respect that we have between us. This respect is felt, it is not said.'
A jaw-dropping 107 points behind Groupama 34, Daniel Souben (Courrier Dunkerque) is happy with second place, and caught somewhere between stunned and impressed with the Tour winner. 'It was a tough, beautiful tour with very good conditions. Sure, we’re frustrated that we didn’t beat Groupama because we came to try and win the Tour. But they won by sailing an impeccable, consistent race. Congratulations to them.'
In third place overall, Bretagne Crédit Mutuel Elite -long poised to capture second place overall- was overtaken by Daniel Souben yesterday during the La Seyne – Marseille offshore leg. Bretagne Credit Mutual finished fourth, ninth and second in today’s in-port races, setting Troussel’s crew 12 points behind Courrier Dunkerque 3.
Race favorite Sodebo, led by Thomas Coville, finished fourth overall, one step below the winners podium. The young team from Normandy led by Benoit Charon, captured first place overall amongst the amateur rankings, 39 points ahead of the German entry, Iskareen.
The 36th Tour de France a la Voile was backed in full force by each city it visited. More than 53,000 people came to visit the race village in Dieppe in three days. To really conclude the 2013 edition though, a pro-am race is scheduled tomorrow in Marseille. Racing starts at 2:00pm.
Franck Cammas, Groupama 34 skipper: 'I’m very happy to finish the Tour de France in style. We know it was a done deal a few days ago, but we made the effort to sail our best to the end. We did exactly that today, with great wind, shining sun and clear water in Marseille. This month of racing has truly been a pleasure. We’ve had our share of mistakes, but obviously less than the others. I’m not good at saying thank you, but my teammates know the respect we have for one another. This respect is something you feel, not something you say. We took a lot of pleasure sailing today. I love yacht racing, it’s my passion and the Tour is one very intense regatta. It will remain a very good memory for me with a team that perfectly came together.'
Daniel Souben, Courrier Dunkerque 3 skipper: 'It was a tough, beautiful Tour with very good conditions. Sure, we’re frustrated that we didn’t beat Groupama because we came to try and win the Tour. But they won by sailing an impeccable, consistent race. Congratulations to them. Our crew has remained focused despite a difficult start where we raced well below our level. Today we were in phase with the wind, sailing in conditions we would have loved to have the entire month. To finish on a day like this, it's great, but it's a little frustrating because we should have raced like this the entire time. But it’s good and the guys still made me proud.'
Nicolas Troussel, Bretagne Crédit Mutuel Elite skipper: 'This is the third year in a row we’ve taken third place! But what we have to keep in mind is yes, Groupama is far ahead, but Courrier Dunkerque was far ahead last year. And today the two of us are practically tied for points. I want to thank my teammates because we did great things together. It was really nice to play with Groupama. Everything came together.'
Thomas Coville, Sodebo skipper: 'Overall, I’m happy with this Tour. We wanted to make the podium but we can’t hide the fact that we narrowly missed it. We knew it would be hard work. We knew that the three teams ahead of us started training earlier and had more experience than us, but we had our own cards to play. We had all the problems of a young team. We’d go from winning an offshore leg to crumbling the day after. I came here to fight, to learn and to take risks before embarking on my winter record campaign. And from that point of view I enjoyed every bit of this very intense month of racing.'
Tour Voile website