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A Pure Figaro Stage 2 and A Beautiful, Balanced Four Stage Course

Published on 28/08/2021

Three times La Solitaire winner Jéremie Beyou talks about this edition of the race.

“Above all the performance of Xavier Macaire (Groupe SNEF) stands out. I found it really impressive, on a stage where there were few tactical moves, where it was mainly speed both downwind and upwind. He succeeded in making the difference on both points of sail. At the end of the descent towards Spain and during the last night of the race, he really showed his willingness to really push to make every possible mile. And he was right not to be satisfied with finishing in front of the others but trying to create a substantial gap on this first stage. This is what is great sailors in the Figaro do, to manage to make a difference when the opportunities are there and these opportunities are very rare, But to be 47 minutes ahead of second placed Pierre Quiroga (Skipper Macif 2019) is not really so, so much, it does not insulate him that much as we know so much can happen. On the other hand, having succeeded in widening such a gap on such a course shows that he is very strong. This is what I take from this first stage. Xavier Macaire is strong.”

Can you describe the second Leg to us?
“The passage to the Rochebonne plateau is well known but this stage will be tactical with the expected northeast wind. Will a new breeze succeed in establishing itself between the coureaux de Groix and Belle-île? It will be interesting to see it before a climb that promises to be fast from the Rochebonne plateau on a reach. The passage of the Pointe de Bretagne will probably be the highlight of this route, with the passages of the Pointe du Raz and the Four. This can create gaps, small surprises. Going along the north coast of Brittany is never easy, it is always a technical. The passage of La Hague, the tip of Cotentin are also ultra technical passages. This is really a pure Figaro stage.”

Over all four stages what will be the decisive moment, where you must not make a mistake at the risk of losing a lot of time?
“First of all, I think the course is a very balanced one this year with the passage back and forth across the Bay of Biscay, then coastal racing, transitions and headlands and even the cliffs of Fécamp which are never easy, especially in the early morning. There are multiple crossings of the Channel, a climb out to the Fastnet ... It’s a real beautiful Solitaire du Figaro course, with four beautiful stages. For me, this is the true format of this race, a tough and exciting course to follow until the end. It makes you want to be out there doing it.

Without thinking about a particular course area, I think that the third stage will probably be as often the most delicate, because it is there that the last strokes are played while the final stage is most often done in control mode. Then, the whole ascent to the Celtic Sea is not easy either. There is a lot of current and it is an area that the competitors are less familiar with. The bypassing of the Isles of Scilly will not be easy either with thermal variations caused by the differences in water temperature… Not to mention the return of algae which will logically be more present after the passage of the tip of Brittany algae. And then the third stage is often the one where the fatigue is most felt, is the most complicated to manage, especially for the leader, who has more and more difficulty in controlling the pursuers who have less and less to lose as they go. advance the race. This is the stage of all dangers. Those who are doing the best are often those who have best managed their race, their sleep and their vitality, their sails which have remained in good condition. This is where the difference is made between those who are undermined by all the small problems, the small frustrations, the small lack of confidence and on the contrary those who have been able to manage all this better.”

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