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11 June 2005, 11:54 am
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Formula Windsurfing European Championship 2005
Ialisos Beach, Rhodes, Greece

On the fourth day of the Formula Windsurfing European Championships in Ialisos, Rhodes, Greece, the competitors were brought to their physical limits. Antoine ALBEAU (FRA) took the chance to attack the leader, Wojtek BRZOZOWSKI (POL), but the reigning European Champion managed to defend the lead. In the women's fleet, the group behind Allison SHREEVE (AUS) moved within striking distance of the leader.
Race director Bruno DE WANNEMAEKER (BEL) ran four races for each of the fleets yesterday.

The qualification series ended after eight races and the men's fleet was divided into the gold fleet and the silver fleet. In the gold fleet the competitors are fighting for the positions 1 to 58, the prize money and the official Formula Windsurfing European title, while the silver fleet are fighting for the positions 59 to 113. In the first race it seemed as if BRZOZOWSKI would be able to move away from his biggest opponent ALBEAU. The reigning European Champion from Poland dominated while ALBEAU only scored an eleventh place. However in the next two races the French windsurfing giant turned the tabled and dominated and won in front of BRZOZOWSKI on both occasions.

In the final race of the day it got even worse for the current leader of the event. BRZOZOWSKI was thought to be over early and returned to the starting line to start another time round the ends. Therefore he was the last after the start and was forced to fight his way through the fleet. He ended up in ninth place. ALBEAU was not able to take a full advantage out of his opponent's mistake. The Dutch youngster Dennis LITTLE (NED) scored his first victory at an international regatta and won the race in front of ALBEAU.

In the women's fleet Lucy HORWOOD (GBR) and Verena FAUSTER (ITA) had the best of yesterday's racing. FAUSTER scored two victories, a second and a third while HORWOOD manged one victory and three second places. Going into the final day today, SHREEVE is still in the lead with 13.8 points. HORWOOD on 15.4 points and FAUSTER on 18.4 points have both passed France's Sarah HEBERT to move within striking distance of the European title.

BRZOZOWSKI still leads the men's fleet with 8.9 points but his biggest opponent, ALBEAU is only 1.3 points behind him with 10.2 points, and he has the better discards than BRZOZOWSKI. According to the Frenchman, 'Tomorrow we will have the showdown between Wojtek and me. Mistakes are not allowed. But I am well prepared.' It looks as if the battle for the European title will be between these two.

The fight for third is just as tight. Last year's Rhodes event winner Ross WILLIAMS (GBR) and the reigning Formula Windsurfing World Champion Micah BUZIANIS (USA) are fighting head to head both with 21.4 points. In fifth the Formula Windsurfing World Champion 2003 Steve ALLEN (AUS) is still in the running on 26 points.

Going into the final day of the Formula Windsurfing European Championship the situation could not be more exciting with nothing yet decided and the focus on fascinating duels for the positions on the podium in the men's and women's fleets. The meteorologists predict good wind again. So the race committee hopes to be able to achieve the full 15 race series in the men's fleet with three final races. The skippers' meeting is set for 1000 hours local time with the first start at 11:00. The prize giving of the Formula Windsurfing European Championships will take place in the Forum Beach hotel this evening.

Matthias Regber (As Amended By ISAF). Image, BRZOZOWSKI (right) leads going into the final day:© Event Media
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