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2023 WingFoil Racing World Cup Cagliari - Day 3

by Andy Rice 22 Oct 2023 00:14 PDT 19-22 October 2023

On day three of WingFoil Racing World Cup Sardinia the riders were only returning to shore as the sun was setting over Poetto Beach after another challenging session of races in ever-changing offshore breeze.

As expected, six short-course races in Gold Fleet were very likely to shake up the order in the men. It was a long wait as the race committee postponed in the hope that the rain clouds would pass and allow the wind to settle down. While the wind never steadied as much as some riders might have wished for, the racing got under way in variable conditions that always kept the fleet on its toes.

Even reigning World Champion Mathis Ghio was caught out in the first race as he dropped off the foil and only finished 13th across the line. However the Frenchman got his usual act together for the rest of the afternoon and won two of the six heats. Ghio's consistency has hauled him to the top of the leaderboard for the first time this regatta, displacing fellow Frenchman Julien Ratotti to second.

The way the Medal Series works, this means the two French riders are promoted straight to Sunday's four-rider Final while the rest of the top 10 will have to fight their way out of the knockout rounds if they're to join Ghio and Ratotti for the podium battle.

Even the previously invincible Maddalena Spanu lost some races today, although the 16-year-old Italian still stepped ashore with a beaming smile. "In the first race I missed the sound signal and I was late starting," she said. "But it was not a problem. I was fast with my equipment and I still finished second in that race and I won some of the other races."

As for being just one race away from winning the championship, Spanu was a little taken aback by the implications of wearing the yellow bib for another day. "I don't know, it makes me feel a little nervous," she giggled.

Orane Ceris is such a free spirit she was barely aware of the implications of climbing back into second place by a single point ahead of rival French rider Manon Pianazza. "Oh, I am straight in the final? OK, but that was such a hard day," she said soon after landing on Poetto Beach. The emotion was still high among the women and the men after exerting themselves so hard in so many races.

Francesco Cappuzzo might have been disappointed to have dropped to third in the men's competition but the Italian will be ready to fight alongside New Zealand's Josh Armit in the semi-final. Armit was pleased with another day of rapid learning as the iQFOiL Olympic windsurfing campaigner grapples with wingfoil racing for the first time. "I won the first race and the last race today, so I'm pretty stoked about that," smiled Armit, one of the bigger riders in the fleet.

"There's still a lot to work on but that's why I'm here and I'm looking forward to getting into the Medal Series tomorrow." Being well used to the sudden-death, winner-takes-all nature of the iQFOiL final-day format could stand Armit in good stead for battling his way out of the semi-final and booking one of those spots in the Final.

A week ago at the Kitefoil World Series Sardinia when the kiters raced in this same Medal Series format, Denis Taradin of Cyprus climbed from 9th at the start of the day to stand on the podium with a bronze medal around his neck a few hours later.

So anything can happen, even for Under-19 competitor Riccardo Zorzi who was still dwelling on missed opportunities in today's racing. The young Italian, like all the other top 10 men and women, has the evening to recuperate physically and mentally before one last push for the podium on Sunday afternoon in the warm autumn sun of Sardinia.

Results Men

1. Mathis Ghio FRA 18.0 p
2. Julien Ratotti FRA 26.2 p
3. Francesco Cappuzzo ITA 31.0 p

Results Women

1. Maddalena Maria Spanu ITA 12.0 p
2. Orane Ceris FRA 36.0 p
3. Manon Pianazza FRA 37.0 p

For more information and full results, go here.

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