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10 May 2005, 09:40 am
Italians Prepare For Olympic Classes Battle
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Expert Olympic Garda 2005
Riva Del Garda, Trento, Italy

Starting today, more than two hundred Olympic class boats will be on Garda Trentino, Italy for a week of international sailing in the ISAF Grade 2 Expert Olympic Garda - Eurolymp. Several winners from Hyères are in Italy looking to continue their good form and climb up the ISAF World Sailing Rankings.
The first starting signal was given today at noon on the five regatta courses on Garda Trentino. The 470 women fleet will see the sisters Anna and Bettina BONELLI (ITA) up against fellow Italians Elisabetta SACCHEGGIANI and Myriam CUTOLO and Giulia PIGNOLO and Silvia CATTARINI. Also in the 470 fleet, Europe Olympic champion, Siren SUNDBY (NOR) continues her education in, what is for her, still relatively unfamiliar equipment.

In the 470 men's fleet ISAF World Sailing Rankings' number ones, Gabrio ZANDONA and Francesco DELLA TORRE (ITA) look favourites. ZANDONA won here last year with crew Giulio TRANI (ITA). This time out the old teammates will both be helming for competing teams.

The home yacht club team of Tristano VACONDIO and Francesco GABBI (ITA) are sure to be well supported at the Fraglia Vela Riva but have tough competition in the form of Pietro SIBELLO and his brother, Gianfranco (ITA).

Amongst the Finns, recent winner of the ISAF Grade 1 Semaine Olympique Française, Emilios PAPATHANASIOU (GRE) is in a rich vein of form and will be looking for another good result over ISAF World Sailing Rankings' number one and 2004 Olympic silver medallist, Rafa TRUJILLO (ESP).

Another winner in Hyères also in Italy is Australian Tom SLINGSBY in the Laser. It is a tough looking fleet with Olympic bronze medallist Vasilij ZBOGAR (SLO) aiming to gain enough points to move him above Paul GOODISON (GBR) at the top of the ISAF World Sailing Rankings.

The Laser Radial class looks to be hard to predict with so many new sailors transferring to this new Olympic equipment. New ISAF World Sailing Rankings' number one, Keamia RASA (CAN) will be keen to prove she is worthy of the mantle, although a tough European challenge awaits her.

The Star fleet sees two Italian crews up against a variety of European competitors, whilst among the top ten ranking sailors in the Tornado, Andrey KIRILYUK and Valery USHKOV (RUS) will be aiming for a good result.

Recent winners in Hyères, the USA team led by Sally BARKOW, will start racing in the Yngling fleet full of confidence.

ISAF. Image, PAPATHANASIOU will be looking to continue his great run of form:© Menahem Kahana/AFP/Getty Images
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