Slovenia’s Toni Vodisek, hot-favourite to lift the 2019 KiteFoil World Series title, is out of the competition after he suffered a shoulder injury in a crash in the penultimate race of the second day.
Vodisek had proved virtually untouchable at the opening three stops of International Kiteboarding Association (IKA) series where he dominated to take a hat-trick of victories that put him in pole position to secure the coveted crown.
But even before his campaign-ending injury, there were ominous signs his title bid was coming off the rails.
On the second of a scheduled four days of competition off Cagliari’s Poetto Beach, Vodisek was disqualified from one race for crossing the line early and tangled at the bottom gate, then failing to finish another.
France’s Théo de Ramecourt bracketed his day’s five races with a blisteringly-quick pair of race wins and a second spot that belied a somewhat mixed effort, though it was enough to retain his overnight lead in the standings.
Britain’s Connor Bainbridge revelled in the battles and scooped two wins, a second and two thirds in a stellar foray that saw him leapfrog several rivals on the leaderboard to go second overall.
Bainbridge now just has the jump on the French trio of Nico Parlier, Axel Mazella and Maxime Nocher. Parlier had a strong day with a win and a clutch of high-placed finishes that ensured he retained his third spot overall.
Among the 24 women battling in the mixed fleet of 66, the US’s Daniela Moroz has won every one of the 11 races so far, but newcomers Julia Damasiewicz (POL) and Breiana Whitehead (AUS) sit second and third after engrossing contests that saw Russia’s Elena Kalinina just slip to fourth overall.