Philippe PRESTI (FRA) is the winner of the first Trophée Veolia. The French champion managed to beat Sweden's Johan MOLUND in a tight final. Urkaine's Evgeniy BRASLAVETS finished in third place beating Australia's Mitch BOOTH in another tight match race.
Though it was very cold in Lyon, many people came to the Olympic pool of the nautical centre on the Rhône bank to watch the finals for the first Trophée Veolia Environnement. Racing started at 14:00 with the quarterfinals. The two groups sailed four races each in order to determine the four semi-finalists. In group E, Sweden's Johan MOLUND and the Netherland's Mitch BOOTH dominated the two French contenders, Christine BRIAND and Xavier ROHART. The 470 champion and the Tornado medallist won two races each and therefore qualified for the semi finals.
In group G, Ukraine's Evgeniy BRASLAVETS has been most impressive winning three races out of four. Behind the 470 gold medallist, who was sailing ahead with a good lead, Britain's Paul BROTHERTON and France's Philippe PRESTI fought for the qualifying second place. In the end, it was the Frenchman who finished in second place as the 49er British sailor, who impressed everyone yesterday, struggled a little bit. "That's life !, said Brotherton who still enjoyed it. It was great fun, great boats and a great opportunity to sail against those we normally don't have a chance to sail against. I hope to come back next year"
. France's Michel DESJOYEAUX also struggled today and never managed to really be in the match.
The four semi-finalists faced each other in a last fleet racing round. Sweden's Johan MOLUND sailed perfectly well in that round winning three of the four races. France's Philippe PRESTI also did a good job and managed to finish in second place and therefore qualified for the final. Surprisingly, the two favourites, Australia's Mitch BOOTH and Ukraine's Evgeniy BRASLAVETS were the ones who struggled the most. They came third and fourth.
Booth and Braslavets had to fight for third spot overall in a best of three match-race. The Australian managed to snatch victory in the first race but then lost the second race. In the third race, the Ukrainian sailor had a good start while Booth hit the mark and had to do a penalty turn. The race was over and it was Braslavets who finished in third place overall. "Unfortunately I did not sail very well in the semi finals and lost my chance to win but I'm glad to finish in third place. It was a very nice and competitive event",
said the 470 medallist
The best of five match-race final between Johan MOLUND and Philippe PRESTI has been very tight. The Swedish 470 champion started very well as he won the first two races. But he got penalised at the start in the third race, which gave the opportunity to Philippe Presti to go and score his first point. The Frenchman then snatched victory in the next two races to become the winner of the first Trophée Veolia Environnement. "It helps to have experience in match racing , said Presti. It's been a very nice event with a very good atmosphere between the competitors. Besides, it's a great idea to bring a sailing event in the city. I've signed more autographs today than during my whole Olympic campaign"
. Johan Molund was also very pleased. " I hope to do it again".
The public, who stayed until the very end to cheer the champions, really enjoyed the show. Full results are available on the event website at the address below.