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news - Daniel Souben and his crew won the Tour de France à la Voile !

July 28 2014

After three last inshore races today in Nice, Daniel Souben and his crew won the Tour de France à la Voile. It is the third time that the team of Courrier Dunkerque finishes the event at the top of the podium, after winning the race twice in a row in 2008 and 2009.

Last year’s champion Groupama 34, who managed to get as close as 7 points from the race leader just a few days ago, was not strong enough to beat Courrier Dunkerque. The key to Daniel Souben’s success this year has been an incredible consistancy, on both inshore and offshore races, and a fantastic team work. « Our strength also comes from the fact that our crew remained the same from the beginning to the end. Before we would have brought some fresh blood to the team for the Mediterranean, but this time we were the same 9 crew from Dunkerque to Nice », admitted skipper Daniel Souben.

The two rivals have offered some exceptionnal sailing moments. In Bréhat, for example, the two boats started a crazy match-racing duel a few meters from the rocky shores. Groupama 34 performed really well in the inshore races but missed two major high scoring offshore legs, which ended up costing them a lot. Every single mistake in this year’s game actually cost a lot to both teams. And one of the reasons for that might be the new one-design sails that the teams received just before the event started in Dunkerque and that leveled the competition. But Groupama 34 also had an amazing crew, with Fabien Henry (who has 12 Tours under his belt as a skipepr or project manager, including 5 victories) as a skipper for the Atlantic side of the race, and Franck Cammas for the Mediterranean. « It was a fierce battle until the end and it was not easy at the beginning of the Mediterranean when we saw Franck stepping onboard and winning a few races in a row. He has this ability to gather and motivate his troups and it could be intimidating. But we never stopped believing in a possible victory. We stayed strong until the end », declared Daniel Souben.

Third place of the podium was disputed until the end today in Nice. Bretagne Crédit Mutuel Elite was still third this morning when they left the dock, but Team Oman Sail managed to reach their goal, stepping up on the podium for the first time in five participations in the the Tour de France à la Voile. The Omani crew who was in difficulty in the Mediterranean sailed better in the last few days. Last night they were back three points behind Nicolas Troussel, and the three races today in Nice were enough for Oman Sail to win the few points they were missing to realise their dream. The team skipper Sidney Gavignet greeted the progress of his Omani crew.

Marinepool, official supplier of Courrier Dunkerque 3 and Team Oman Sail, congratulates the crews for this great performance on the Tour de France à la Voile 2014!

© Jacques Vapillon