Nicolas Lunven (Generali) wins Stage 1 of La Solitaire URGO Le Figaro

Crossing the finish line off Gijon, Asturias, Northern Spain at 00h 01m 16s local time (22h 01m 16s UTC) Nicolas Lunven (Generali) won the first stage of the 2017 La Solitaire URGO Le Figaro. The 36 year old from Vannes, Brittany who last won the race overall in 2009 took 2 days 07 hrs 31 m 16 seconds to complete the course from Bordeaux (Pauillac) to Gijon, a theoretical distance of 420 miles. 

Now on his ninth participation in the La Solitaire multi stage solo offshore race it is the first time ever that he has won a stage.  He has been one of the pacemakers since leaving the Gironde estuary on Sunday afternoon, third at the Radio France buoy at the exit of the estuary, then fourth at the midway turning mark. He pressed a little further to the west after the most northerly turn, at the Plateau Rochebonne mark south west of Les Sables d'Olonne and reaped a dividend as he taked onto starboard towards Gijon. He moved past Adrien Hardy as one of the fastest in the fleet, taking over a lead he never relinquished. 

Hardy (AGIR Recouvrement) took second place in a time of 2 days 7hrs 44 mins and 39 seconds, only 13 minutes and 33 seconds behind Lunven.  It is the fourth time Hardy has been on the podium of a stage. He has never won a stage before but was second into Kinsale in 2010 behind Armel Le Cléac'h – who went on to win the race. In 2013 and again in 2015 he was third twice, both times into Dieppe. 

In third place, finishing at  00h 29mn 02s, Sébastien Simon took third place. The 27 year old took 2 days 7 hours 59 minutes and 2 seconds aboard Bretagne-CMB Performance, so 14 minutes and 23 seconds behind second place and 27 minutes and 55 seconds after the stage winner Lunven.  It is the second time the young skipper from Les Sables d'Olonne has finished in the podium on a stage of La Solitaire, winning into Concarneau in 2015. 

Lunven said: “At daybreak I was just behind Adrien Hardy and had a good battle with him. I said to myself this morning that second was possible but after passing him I was pretty nervous all day and so I am very happy to win a stage for the first time, especially on a stage like this with between 5 and 50 knots of wind, upwind and downwind. It was pretty sporty, pretty tough. The seas were really hyper chaotic at times.

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