Special correspondent on board Express
It's like Samaritaine, there's always something happening on Solitaire. On all floors and in all departments. Yesterday evening, while Express was heading towards the Paprec intermediate sprint mark to anchor the buoy, Florian Gueguen, its captain, announced to the race director that the area was mined by surface fishing gear. A new location for the brand, virtual this time, was therefore announced to competitors. The latter located 10 miles further south. The other highlight was him being a sportsman. Having chosen a route along the island of Yeu, Benoît Tuduri (CAPSO En Cavale) and Jules Delpech (Orcom) took advantage of a more favorable wind to pass the GPS point in front of the whole pack. A pack where the fight between the leaders of the general classification after two stages, Basile Bourgnon (Edenred), Corentin Horeau (Banque Populaire) and Loïs Berrehar (Skipper Macif 2022), holding on at 0.8 miles, was still raging.
A fine blow therefore for the two men of the royal route as Jules Delpech explained at the 6 a.m. session: “Two of my routes went to the coast. They were going to look for what we call low thermal pressure, that is to say that when the air heats on land, this generates an acceleration of the westerly wind, along the coast. It was interesting, we were in the situation to do it, even if it was a bit limited because we had clouds before we arrived. But I saw the sun behind me and the wind coming with it. » Department store lottery, bingo! : “I was a little at the bottom of the rankings, I had taken really high prices in the Bay of Audierne. So I didn't hesitate too much to drop the package and look for this option. I passed outside the Ile d'Yeu, between the Ile d'Yeu and the Rochebonne plateau. Benoît went inside, but he arrived earlier, with the clouds. On the descent towards the mark, it felt good, because we didn't have a lot of slack. On the other hand, the brand was shifted, which still gave us a bit of a blow. But in all cases, I was confident because we were going fast with a little powerful air. It’s clear that it’s a great pleasure to get the brand in a good position. Especially since it's the second time in two races. There, we take advantage of the northwest to move forward to port. In the coming hours, we expect the north to be a little weaker. The wind is not very stable, you have to go out and adjust the sails quite regularly. And I also need to refine the strategy. »
For the leaders since the departure of Roscoff, after the astonishment, it was necessary to remobilize. Alexis Loison (REEL Group) confided: “A lot happened when passing the intermediate mark. Already, I thought I was second behind Élodie Bonafous (Quéguiner-La Vie en Rose), and then we saw two smart guys coming down the hill. So I go fourth. A few miles before the mark, it was a bit of a fire because it was in the middle of a fishing zone. It was therefore necessary to shift it to the South. The race director managed it very well and we did more downwind than expected. Now I'm going to try to do better than the chocolate medal on this step. I could see myself getting into the top three in each intermediate sprint on this Solitaire. So I did 2,3 and 4." The hope of winning the stage for the Cherbourgeois with 17 participations remained: "We have never been so close to the finish as they say, but the road is still long and strewn with pitfalls with a wind currently established but it should turn and ease. Afterwards, we will be in the game of thermal wind conditions during the day and synoptic at night. There can therefore be reversals of situation between the open sea and the land, you will have to find where to position yourself. I'm not 100% but it's okay, I'm not in agony. I managed to rest especially downwind. I had great speed under the driver and so I didn't have to be asked to lie down in preparation for this long sprint to the finish.
A 120-mile sprint, heads down upwind and in calmer seas, was on the program to complete the third and final stage in Piriac-sur-Mer, the next night.