Germany and Italy? Check! 40 days left to the final in St Gilles Croix de Vie, France! The European summer is coming to an end, but before the European riders are heading for the southern hemisphere for the winter months, there is one highlight left: The Kitesurf Tour Europe comes to St. Gilles Croix de Vie (Nantes) from October 26th to November 01st for its final stop and crowns the European Champions in Kiteboarding Freestyle.
Start in Sylt and Lamezia
The tour 2011 started spectacularly on the beautiful island of Sylt, Germany with challenging conditions including 3-4 meter waves and winds around 25 knots. Besides the World Championships in Course Racing and European Freestyle Championships, the Kiteloop Contest and Best Trick competition presented mind-blowing performances in front of a cheering crowd at the island’s most famous promenade. Then Lamezia Terme (Naples) in southern Italy welcomed the riders with warm and sunny weather and through its light wind character asked for completely different skills. Thermal winds kicking in late in the day determined the event together with delicious Italian food and famous Calabrian hospitality.
European Champions wanted!
Mario Rodwald from Germany and local French rider Sebastien Garat are the top-favorites to win the title and become European Champion in Kiteboarding Freestyle at the end of the circuit 2011: "After finishing second in the European Championship last year I really put all my commitment into this years tour and hopefully I can make it this time. Some of the guys are really close in the ranking so there´s quite some pressure but it´s going to be good action and also a lot of fun!" states the German champion. Mario used the advantage of competing at home and won the event in the challenging conditions Sylt defeating Seb Garat finishing second as well as Tijn van Esch and Jerrie van de Kop (both Netherlands) in third and fourth place. In Lamezia, competitions went into overtime on the last day due to light winds with Mario and Seb as smiling winners defeating Italian locals Stefano Martinelli and Gabriele Garofalo in the semis. Now the home advantage is on Seb’s side and as the tour showed, having a cheering crowd at its back should not be underestimated – excitement, stunning action and close heats are guaranteed!
In the women’s competition, Asia Litwin from Poland leads the ranking in front of fellow Polish rider Michalina Laskowska and Sylt winner Ines Correia from Portugal. Here, the race for champion will be very tight with around ten riders able to win the event on a good day: UK-champion Hannah Whiteley, German rider Meike Erichsen as well as Helena Brochocka (POL), Pavla Novotna (CZE), Annie de Jong (NED) and Italy winner Alice Brunacci (ITA) are travelling to St Gilles Croix de Vie (Nantes) for nothing less than the aim to win the event.
Course Racing IKA World Ranking
For the racers, the Kitesurf Tour Europe bears important points for the IKA World Ranking. The French team including current leader Julien Kerneur, Maxime Nocher, Bruno Sroka and Olivier Dansin dominated the races in Italy and battled each other in close runs. Dutch rider Rolf van de Vlucht, Andrea Beverino who showed a great performance at his home spot in Italy as well as young-gun Florian Gruber from Germany are heading for France to challenge the French domination. In the women's division, Katja Roose (Netherlands) was unstoppable winning every single race in Italy. The Dutch who got 2nd in the World Championships on Sylt showed that she is in top shape and difficult to stop this year. Italian rider Alice Brunacci got second in Italy followed by US rider Melissa Gil in third place.
The Grande Finale in St Gilles Croix de Vie (Nantes)
With three and a half kilometres of sandy beach, St. Gilles is a popular summer holiday destination and famous for its old fisherman cottages. The popular village is enthusiastic about all kinds of watersports and one of the best kitesurfing and surfing spots in France. Moreover, St. Gilles Croix de Vie is labeled "France Station Nautique", which proves the city’s dynamism in water and extreme sports and capacity to offer the required infrastructures to host an international event. It has a long history in hosting kiteboarding events such as various world and French championship stops and is also home of "Vendée" - organisers of the Vendée Globe, a sailing race around the world.