World Cup Series to reach a climax at Paris 2024 venue
dimanche 6 mai 2018
After a series of global events, Sailing's 2018 World Cup Series will draw to a close in Marseille, France as the Paris 2024 Olympic Sailing Competition hosts the Final.
The World Cup Series commenced in Gamagori, Japan in
October 2017. Miami held the American round in January 2018,
followed by Hyères, France in April.
Marseille will welcome the winners from all of the rounds as well as the best performing racers across the series, who will bid to be crowned the World Cup Series Champion.
The Final will be one of the final opportunities for sailors to test themselves and achieve the bragging rights ahead of August's Hempel Sailing World Championships Aarhus 2018.
Numerous Olympic medallists, World Champions and World Cup Series stars will be amongst the 221 registered sailors from 34 nations, racing in 158 boats.
The Women's RS:X fleet will see a host of leading competitors face off, and also marks the return to international competition for the 2017 World Cup Series Champion.
Brazil's Patricia Freitas came out on top in the 2017 Final in Santander and, although she hasn't featured on the international scene in 2018, she automatically qualifies as defending Champion. Freitas' most recent outing in the RS:X saw her claim the South American Championship title and the Copa Brazil de Vela.
Joining her in the fleet will be winners from Gamagori and Hyères.
Hong Kong's Hei Man Chan clinched gold at the first World Cup Series event ever held in Japan by controlling the fleet in testing conditions in Gamagori. Elsewhere, Zofia Noceti-Klepacka (POL) won the most recent World Cup Series RS:X title in Hyères, her third consecutive victory on French waters. With Marseille less than 90km away from Hyères, she'll fancy her chances again.
All three will go head to head but, even though they have enjoyed success over the last 12 months, they won't necessarily be overwhelming favourites.
Lilian de Geus (NED) snapped up gold at the Trofeo Princesa Sofia in March and took gold at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic venue during Enoshima Olympic Week in 2017. Most recently, she finished seventh in Hyères, and will be a frontrunner in Marseille.
Another favourite will be World #2 Stefania Elfutina (RUS), Rio 2016 bronze medallist, who has featured consistently at the front of the Women's RS:X fleet.
The French trio of Louis Giard, Pierre Le Coq and Thomas Goyard will be the ones to watch in the Men's RS:X.
Giard, World #1, started off 2018 with a bang, winning gold at the World Cup Series event in Miami. With a consistent series of racing, Giard comprehensively defeated his national rivals, with Le Coq rounding off the podium and Goyard coming down in seventh.
The tables turned at the next World Cup event in Hyères as Le Coq came out on top by just four points in a high-scoring event that went to and fro. No sailor was able to take hold of the event but Le Coq did just enough to hold on in the Medal Race after a late charge from Giard. Goyard won the Medal Race and snapped up the final podium position.
It will be hard to defeat the French team on their home waters but aiming to do exactly that will be Gamagori gold medallist and World #3 Pawel Tarnowski (POL), World #5 Mateo Sanz Lanz (SUI), World #6 and Beijing 2008 Olympic medallist Shahar Zubari and Japanese favourite Makoto Tomizawa.
The 20-boat Women's 470 fleet will feature the in-form teams who will all be aiming for gold.
Tina Mrak and Veronika Macarol (SLO) won in Miami and picked up their first European title earlier this month. The pair have consistently finished at the top end of the leaderboard and, with two major wins in 2018, they'll want a third to position themselves as favourites for the world title at the Hempel Sailing World Championships in August.
Great Britain's Hannah Mills and Eilidh McIntyre commenced their sailing journey together just one year ago where they won gold at the 2017 World Cup Final. Success has followed the pair since then, winning silver at the 2017 World Championship and silver most recently at the World Cup Series event in Hyères.
Camille Lecointre, France's Rio 2016 bronze medallist, has teamed up with Aloise Retornaz, and they approach the event in great form in the Women's 470 following their victory in Hyères. The pair had only previously raced together at one event, the Trofeo Princesa Sofia where they finished fourth.
Ai Kondi Yoshida and Miho Yoshioka (JPN) picked up the first World Cup gold of the series in Gamagori and will be amongst the fleet in Marseille. Olympians Fernanda Oliveira and Ana Luiza Barbachan (BRA) will also be in the hunt for the medals.
2017 World Cup Series Men's 470 champions, Panagiotis Mantis and Pavlos Kagialis (GRE), will head to Marseille to defend the title they won in Santander 12 months ago.
Mantis and Kagialis were convincing winners in 2017, but they've only finished on the podium at one of five 470 events they've competed at since then. They narrowly missed the Men's 470 podium in Miami, finishing fourth, but in Hyères they could only place 17th. The Greek racers have the big game experience, having won bronze at Rio 2016, and will be aiming to defend their title.
Australia's Mat Belcher and Will Ryan have been one of the most consistent 470 teams of all time. The pair have won 29 ranked events since 2012 and have numerous accolades to their name, winning gold in Gamagori and silver in Hyères.
Belcher and Ryan won the World Cup Final in 2014, 2015 and 2016. They did not race in 2017 but they'll be gunning for a fourth title in 2018.
Further contenders in the 20-boat fleet include Spanish Olympian Jordi Xammar, sailing with Nicolás Rodriguez, French favourites and World Cup medallists Kevin Peponnet and Jeremie Mion, and the five-strong Japanese team.
Racing will commence at 11:00 local time on Tuesday 5 June and will conclude with the Medal Races on Saturday 9 and Sunday 10 June, which will be streamed across the World Sailing Network.
source : World Sailing