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19 March 2007, 09:43 am
Italians Lead The Way On Garda
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Expert Olympic Garda 2007
Riva Del Garda, Italy

The Medal Races brought the ISAF Grade 2 Expert Olympic Garda to a conclusion in Italy on Sunday, with the home sailors leading the way with victories in five classes. Amongst the other winners were world #1s, Evi VAN ACKER (BEL) and Hamish PEPPER (NZL), in the Laser Radial and Star classes respectively.
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The most remarkable result of Sunday's final day came in the Women's 470 Medal Race, into which Paoli Vesna DEKLEVA and Klara MAUCEC (SLO) took a nine point lead over Giulia CONTI and Giovanna MICOL (ITA).

CONTI and MICOL were extremely fast in the typical Garda northerly breeze and managed to pull out a big advantage over the rest of the fleet and win the Medal Race. The wind died off, leaving the rest of the fleet floating, with nobody else able to make the finish within the time limit, handing overall victory to the Italians.

With a crafty smile CONTI said, 'The day before yesterday we had to race without the spinnaker, which ripped. Today luck helped us out, so it all balanced in the end.'

MAUCEC accepted the loss with good grace, especially considering her and DEKLEVA had won all but two of the ten race series leading into the Medal Race, 'Congratulations to Giulia, today she won because she knew Lake Garda's conditions better. We all know what the lake is like, and that the northerly wind can stop blowing around that time. She has been really great and deserved to win.'

ZANDONA Win

In the Men's 470, Gabrio ZANDONA and Andrea TRANI (ITA) cashed in a well deserved victory, 'Now that it is over and we won, we feel so relieved. I have to say that we are always happy to race on the Lake Garda but now it's time to focus on Palma de Mallorca and on the next commitment, the Princess Sophia Trophy. However, we always have a great time here!'

Finishing in second, Karlo HMELJAK and Mitja NEVECNY (SLO) were ecstatic, with HMELJAK commenting, 'We just got back to racing together, and to come second behind Gabrio and Andrea is just the best. You can see they are better prepared, as opposed to us, we couldn't compete for nearly a year due to our study commitments. Getting back together on the boat for the Expert Olympic Garda and being second means victory. About the Olympics, of course we have our mind set on Beijing, but for the moment we have to make up for lost time and push hard if we want to reach that goal. Firstly, we have to focus on the World Championship in Cascais, the rest will come!'

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Hamish PEPPER and Brad
NICHOL dominated in the Star
© Roberto Vuilleumier/
Promovideo film production
In the Tornado, Vincenzo SORRENTINO and Giorgio COLOMBO (ITA) won in the all-Italian fleet. SORRENTINO explained, 'Giorgio is just recovering from an injury to his right hand. It was his first time on a boat after what happened to him. We were a bit concerned, as it is expected, but everything went smoothly, we are happy with our victory. This happened also thanks to the fact that I had the chance to keep on training with Paolo FAVA, Commander of the Italian Navy, who superbly took Giorgio's place during the training session of last winter. We also have to thank our sponsor, BWAY, who never let us down. We now face the European Championship in Palma de Mallorca being more self-assured. I really need to thank the event's organisation, which has always been perfect. We feel a bit at home on the Lake Garda at this point.'

The other Italian wins came in the 49er and Women's RS:X, courtesy of respectively, Giuseppe ANGILELLA and Pietro ZUCCHETTI (ITA) and ISAF Youth Worlds Champion Laura LINARES (ITA).

A Great Job

Ion ECHAVE, Principal Race Officer of the Eurolymp was delighted with the outcome on Lake Garda, 'A great job has been done. Congratulations to Fraglia Vela Riva and Malcesine for the usual high degree of professionalism they delivered in this important event.'

Laser Radial European Champion VAN ACKER put in the most dominant performance of the regatta, winning all eight races before finishing second in the Medal Race to take the Laser Radial title.

Marc DE HAAS (NED) won the Laser Medal Race to pull of one of the surprise wins of the regatta, relegating Athens Olympic bronze medallist and world #7 Vasilij ZBOGAR (SLO) to second place.

There were more clear-cut winners in the other classes, with Aron GADORFALVI (HUN) taking the Men's RS:X title well ahead of Riccardo BELLI DELL'ISCA (ITA) and Gasper VINCEC (SLO) always in control of the Finn fleet. In the Star fleet, the makeshift team of World Champion helm Hamish PEPPER (NZL), and Andy HORTON's (USA) usual crew Brad NICHOL (USA), proved an effective one, taking the title by 17 points.

The Olympic Classes now move to Palma, Spain and the ISAF Grade 2 Princess Sofia Trophy, which starts on 30 May.

Marzia Busana (As Amended By ISAF). Image, Racing came to a close on Lake Garda with Sunday's Medal Races:© Roberto Vuilleumier/Promovideo film production
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