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Tour de France - Blowy Camargue Coastal Raid

The 29 teams competing in the 2017 Tour de France à la Voile waited patiently for almost two hours under a blazing Mediterranean sun for the start of Sunday’s Coastal Raid.

When the breeze did finally kick in, blowing at around 15 knots and hitting highs of 20, it brought a mixed bag for the fleet with some teams rising to the occasion while others struggled to shine.

The conditions proved perfect for Team SFS, skippered by Sofian Bouvet, who took control from the start, handling their Diam 24 masterfully in the challenging conditions.

They crossed the finish line at a speed of 19 knots with a fairly luxurious lead over Pays de l’Or Pink Lady Hérault in second place – in turn their best result of the tour so far.

While Sunday’s results have not changed the podium positions in the overall classification, a sound fourth place finish from Fondation FDJ – Des Pieds et Des Mains sees them shorten the gap from leaders Tresors de Tahiti, skippered by Teva Plichart, to just eight points.

After a strong start alongside today’s top finishers, Oman Sail dropped steadily back down the fleet to cross the line tenth just behind Tresors de Tahiti, leaving them 19 points off the leaders and just one point ahead of Fondation FDJ – Des Pieds et Des Mains on the overall league table.

With five more races scheduled these four teams have established themselves as serious contenders for the title.

While it was clear early on which teams would likely take the top two spots in today’s Coastal Raid, Team Lorina Limonade – Golfe du Morbihan, winners of the 2016 edition of the event, won a heated four-way battle for third place with Fondation FDJ – Des Pieds et Des Mains, amateur team Homkia / Les Sables d’Olonne Agglomération and Beijaflore Sailing.

Racing continues in Grau du Roi – Port Camargue Monday 24 July, with the teams getting to grips with another fast and furious round of Nautical Stadium qualifiers leading to the Super Final for just eight boats.

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