Press release 5th sept. :
Dimanche 6 Septembre 2009 11:35
François Gabart and Jean-François Cuzon (Espoir Région Bretagne) crossed the finish line outside Saint Quay Portrieux en Côtes d'Armor at 4h30PM. After a 5 hours 30 minutes and 33 seconds race, the crew won the first leg of the Tour de Bretagne 2009 by a handful of seconds. Eric Drouglazet and Laurent Pellecuer (Luisina) end second only 31 seconds from the winners, and 42 seconds ahead from Fred Duthil and François Lebourdais (Bbox Bouygues Telecom).
Light winds were announced between Saint Malo and Saint Quay Portrieux for this first stage of the Tour de Bretagne 2009. Light winds it was indeed, but for the first tens of minutes only; just enough for the first two crews to validate the advantage earned off Cape Fréhel. « We have been ahead since Fréhel. It kept quite tight afterward. That’s Figaro for you! Everyone would arrive in a bundle.» says Jean-François Cuzon, former 470 world champion, who will enter the Jacques Vabre Transat next november along with Sébastien Josse (who scored 10th for the stage, onboard Défi Mousquetaires). François Gabart, official skipper for the last two years of the Région Bretagne Fiaro-Bénéteau, will race the Transat too, teaming up with Kito de Pavant. Gathered this September, both men start the race by a smooth victory, which is quite symbolic for François Gabart. « This victory is very symbolic for m,e for this is my last race onboard Espoir Région Bretagne. This is the occasion for me to think back about the path I’ve covered since my first Tour de Bretagne two years ago. And as far as scoring is concerned, anything is good to take! »
Heading North after exiting the St Malo channel, François Gabart and Jean-François Cuzon finished 31 seconds ahead from their fellow racers off Cape Fréhel. Fair-play, Mediterranean Laurent Pellecuer, crew onboard Luisina, congratulates the winners. « Espoir Région Bretagne, who had been sailing the same course as we did, and even a bit better than we did, then managed to keep thire lead. That being said, with the strong currents in the finishing area, the final scoring was a hard guess... Gabart and Cuzon earned their victory. They kept focused on their course and that’s what made the difference today. Eric Drouglazetand I are happy to start the race that way. What’s more, it was a great day for sailing! »
For the rest of the fleet, the race was quite tight too. The first boat chasing both Fréhel breakaways had to play the bascules for finishing in their wake. Bbox Bouygues Telecom , lead by third of the Figaro Single-handed Briochin Fred Duthil and amateur second of Tour de France 2009 Malouin François Lebourdais played the better game for taking the third position for the stage. « We left Saint Malo twentieth. We headed ashore and then offshore, then ashore and offshore again, and then roght through the pack. That race was designed for us! » They eventually finished 71 seconds away from the winners.
Start signal for the second stage, heading to Perros-Guirrec, will be given this Sunday at 9AM.
They said… upon the arrival in Saint Quay Portrieux
François Gabart and Jean-François Cuzon, winners of the first stage in Saint Quay Portrieux.
- Jean-François Cuzon : We spent two hours with two knots of wind off Cape Fréhel.
- François Gabart : That was a small transition.
- JFC : But we already were in good position, eventhough we had not ran across the rest of the fleet yet.
- FG : In Saint Malo’s channel, escaping from the pack was atricky business. And then everyone ran through the fllet quite fast. Onboard Espoir Région Bretagne, we agreed on heading offshore… We have been ahead since Fréhel. It kept quite tight afterward. That’s Figaro for you! Everyone would arrive in a bundle.
- FG : This victory is very symbolic for me, for this is my last race onboard Espoir Région Bretagne. This is the occasion for me to think back about the path I’ve covered since my first Tour de Bretagne two years ago. And as far as scoring is concerned, anything is good to take!
- JFC : That’s our first time as a crew. It was great to have a good time together!
Laurent Pellecuer – 2nd onboard Luisina : « We left Saint Malo in the pack, like everyone else! But the offshore option was what we were interested in. So, we protected the offshore option when everyone wanted to reach Cape Fréhel. We maintained our course and then there was this astonishing transition: the wind came back in a flash. Espoir Région Bretagne, who had been sailing the same course as we did, and even a bit better than we did, then managed to keep thire lead. That being said, with the strong currents in the finishing area, the final scoring was a hard guess... Gabart and Cuzon earned their victory. They kept focused on their course and that’s what made the difference today. Eric Drouglazetand I are happy to start the race that way. What’s more, it was a great day for sailing!
Fred Duthil – 3rd onboard Bbox Bouygues Telecom : «We left Saint Malo twentieth. We headed ashore and then offshore, then ashore and offshore again, and then roght through the pack. That race was designed for us! After that complicated start, as soon as we started tacking, we started winning back our losses. And then, on CapeFréhel, the others headed into the weak wind. That’s were it was all set. Luisina and Espoir Région Bretagne headed offshore and went through. Before the start, we had said with François Lebourdais that we had to finish in the top 5 today. François, who steers the boat, is getting back with the Figaro-Bénéteau. We thought he might have neede a bit more time to find back his marks. »
Fabien Delahaye and Paul Meilhat – 4th and 1st rookie onboard Port de Caen Ouistreham : « We sailed closed to shore, but we managed to get it back together at a right moment for getting back in the leading group. Today was our first time sailing together ! »
Vincent Biarnès – 9th onboard Banque Populaire : « We ran through some serious ballast issues, and that penalized us until the wind fell after Cape Fréhel. I must have spent two hours on an unstable balance on the edge of the boat with a one liter bucket I used for filing our 300 liters ballast with a funnel. Yet, we had taken a good start, and then we started loosing places until the wind fell. »
Jean-Paul Mouren and Elice Garcin – 12th onboard Groupe Smef : « That’s my first time in Saint-Quay for ages ! I am a rookie on that race and on Saint-Quay onboard a Figaro Bénéteau 2 ! »
Eric Peron and Gérald Veniard – 13th onboard Skipper Macif : « We had taken a very good start,but we headed for the onshore course at Cape Fréhel and it was too late for getting back on the offshore course. It’s our first race as acrew, and we got along very well! »
Alexis Loison and Jérôme Aubert – 16th onboard All Mer IneoGDF Suez : « We had been racing together two years ago already. It goes wuite smoothly, we get to know each other better and better. In the meantime, we have been sailing together on the Tour de France à la Voile onboard Manche - Basse Normandie. »
Damien Cloarec and Guillaume Rivoalen – 17th onboard Espoirs Habitables Baie de Morlaix : « We had taken a good start, second place in St Malo !We have had the boat for a couple fo weeks for we have little means, so we are barely trained! Yet, we arequite happy to be here, alongside the stars of the tour. We get along well, and we learn quite a lot of things.»
Philippe Laot and Jean-Baptiste Epron – 19th onboard Generali : « Errr, there are too many boats ahead of us for being sure of our ranking, but… There are enough of them behind us for making the count difficult!!! We still need a few more fingers to do better… »
Adrien and Dominique Hardy – 20th onboard Agir recouvrement : « It was good to begin with, with a good start. We sailed well in the Saint-Malo’s channel; we maintained a good speed and were in the leading pack at Cape Fréhel alongside Défi Mousquetaires. But then the wind started to fall, and we maintained a course too close to shore… While there was wind offshore all along! A little clew issue little before the arrival cost us 3 places! We had not been sailing together double-handed since the Mini Fastnet four years ago. »
Simon Brady and Andy Greenwood - 25e onboard Sonic Boom II : « We have made mistakes in spite of a good start. We were in the middle of the fleet 2 milles away from the finish line. That’s incredible. There are so many boat, all have the same speed. And any little mistake may cost you ten places. That’s quite an experience ! »
Photo : François Gabart et Jean-François Cuzon (Espoir Région Bretagne) © B. Stichelbaut