Friday, 23 May 2014

Tour de France à la Voile : The Tour in 2014

by ASO media

There is over a month left before the start of the Tour de France à la Voile 2014 and most competitors met in Paris this Thursday, gearing up for the 37th edition of the race.

A fleet of talents

The playing field is promising and the competition already kicked in, with Courrier Dunkerque 3 winning the Spi Ouest-France Intermarché a point ahead of Groupama 34, and Groupama taking over Courrier Dunkerque and Oman Sail during the Grand Prix Guyader.

Two Volvo Ocean Race winners will join the TFV as skippers this year: Franck Cammas (winner in 2012) and Sidney Gavignet (2006). Nicolas Troussel won the Solitaire du Figaro twice and Daniel Souben claimed the TFV title twice. Event director Jean-Baptiste Durier announced the participation of nine M34s in 2014, saying he is very pleased with the level of the fleet. The amateurs from Bruxelles and Bienne Voile will be there this summer too – they have always been loyal to the event and will race onboard the M34 Be. Brussels – Bienne Voile. The Swiss team is back with skipper Nicolas Groux replacing Elodie-Jane Mettraux, now part of Team SCA in the next Volvo Ocean Race.

The Tour de France à la Voile also focused on youth sailing. The Hyères sailing club (COYCH) and Toulon Provence Méditerranée are entering a boat in the race, to be skippered by the local Florian Simonnot, aged 21. Nantes Saint-Nazaire is now a young project with rookies led by Jean-Baptiste Gellée. Normandie is back with a similar team to the last year and their age average is 26.

The event organiser A.S.O. also announced on Thursday that only the M34s would finally enter the race. “The Grand Surprise boats won’t join, though it was initially open to them. Students and amateurs reacted positively at Paris boat show but not enough of them managed to raise the necessary funds,” explained Jean-Baptiste Durier.

Entry list for the Tour de France à la Voile 2014:

COURRIER DUNKERQUE 3, skippered by Daniel SOUBEN
GROUPAMA 34, skippered by Franck CAMMAS
NANTES - SAINT NAZAIRE, skippered by Jean-Baptiste GELLEE
NORMANDIE, skippered by Baptiste CHOQUENET
TEAM OMANSAIL, skippered by Sidney GAVIGNET

A shorter race to boost the rhythm

As announced at Paris boat show, the 2014 edition will last three weeks, leaving little room for mistakes and tactical errors. From Dunkirk to Nice (July 4-27), the teams will race inshore and offshore, looking for the perfect balance between both. “This edition is as promising as last year. The competition is real with some great teams joining in. Changing the racing format to three weeks involves changing the organisation of the teams onboard. It seems like the duration of the event is now favourable to the sailors who know each other well, who are used to sail together. The English Channel will offer an intense competition and the Mediterranean Sea is a part we don’t know that well,” said Daniel Souben. Franck Cammas won the last edition and he still aims at the victory. “I don’t know if we’ll do as well as last year but we are as ready and the team hasn’t changed much. Our first results have been good.” Cammas will be co-skipper with Fabien Henry, who won the TFV himself in 2012 with TPM COYH.

Loyal partners and new brands

Samsung is renewing its commitment to the race and will be the TFV’s main partner for the third year in a row. The group Krys, an A.S.O. partner on the cycling Tour de France, is now committing to this sailing event too – it’s the first time a brand funds both tours. Krys is now an official partner along with another well-known name, Groupama. These three partners will reach a new audience through their presence in the race villages.

Several representatives of Samsung, Krys and Groupama were in Paris with the skippers of the 2014 edition. “We know that the TFV is an exceptional opportunity for our partners, who can meet their clients on site and share special moments with them,” said A.S.O. director Yann Le Moënner. “We welcome Krys as well as Musto, our new official clothing supplier, and all our new partners.”

A festive event

Two years ago, A.S.O. planned to make the TFV a great summer party for everyone. The shore activities have been developed and the race village has been made denser in 2013. An advertising convoy was launched and an activities area created on the beaches along with the French Sailing Federation. Aiming at a total of 200,000 visitors during these three weeks, the events on shore are reinforced by a series of nautical activities. The “Regattas of the Tour” will be available to all amateur sailors in Roscoff and Hyères, nautical jousts and a traditional boat will be in Granville and Roscoff. And the grand finale in Nice will host a Stand Up Paddle relay and a sailing parade for everyone on Sunday, July 27.

Tour de France à la Voile