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19 August 2008, 10:43 am
One Point Separates France, Great Britain and New Zealand Ahead Of Men's RS:X Medal Race
Windsurfers compete in the Men's RS:X class
It's all set to be a nail-biting Medal Race tomorrow for the Men's Windsurfer fleet

2008 Beijing Olympic Games
Qingdao, China

Frenchman Julien BONTEMPS hit the front of the Men's RS:X fleet after their final Opening Series race today, but Britain's Nick DEMPSEY and Kiwi Tom ASHLEY are just one point behind.
Julien BONTEMPS (FRA), ranked #4 in the ISAF World Sailing Rankings, has timed his move to the top of the RS:X Men's fleet at just the right time; one day before the Medal Race.

The French sailor had been sitting in the top five and moved to third Monday. In a light-wind race 10 on Tuesday, a third place was enough to give him an advantage going into the Medal Race. However with points scores in the Medal Race doubled his one-point lead counts for nothing if either Athens bronze medallist Nick DEMPSEY (GBR) or reigning World Champion Tom ASHLEY (NZL) finish ahead of him.

BONTEMPS is looking forward to tomorrow's race, "I feel very good. I knew I could do something here after winning world class regattas in 2006 and 2007. I've just kept the same strategies and motivation," he said.

With the British team performing well, DEMPSEY clung to second overall with a fifth place today. He knows all about performing under pressure having won his bronze medal in Athens thanks to a win in the final race. "I've just got to sail my own race," DEMPSEY said. "The top three are effectively on equal points and the next person is only just behind. So it's really a case of keeping it tight and making sure I beat those three people."

"It will be a case of sailing the first beat, seeing where you are, and assessing the situation at the turn,"
he added.

New Zealander ASHLEY dropped from the lead to third on countback to DEMPSEY after scoring his worst result so far, a 32nd place.

"I had a bad day - not good on the second upwind leg. But it's not the end of the world. We'll see tomorrow," said ASHLEY.

Shahar ZUBARI (ISR) also still has his eye on the gold and is the dark horse in tomorrow's Medal Race. The Israeli sailor led the regatta for some days, but fell of the pace in the bigger winds. He bounced back Tuesday with a fourth place in the lighter conditions and is only nine points off the lead. If tomorrow's forecasted light winds arrive, he could well spring a big surprise.

The first of tomorrow's RS:X Medal Races are scheduled to start at 13:00 local time.

Overall Results - click here

ISAF (source: Olympic News Service)
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