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Gold for Mills and McIntyre in Marseille

Written by 12th June 2018 Featured-post, World Cup Series

Hannah Mills and Eilidh McIntyre won the World Cup Series final for the second year running on Sunday as Elliot Hanson continued his run of success since returning from injury with a bronze.

After a string of silver medals in 2018, Mills and McIntyre went into the regatta in Marseille, France, aiming to replicate their win in the women’s 470 class at the 2017 event, their first outing as a new crew.

They were dominant over the week’s ten races, only finishing outside of the top three on four occasions and counting fifth as their worst result in the 20-boat fleet.

Hannah Mills and Eilidh McIntyre

Hannah Mills and Eilidh McIntyre celebrate victory at WCS Marseille with coach Elliot Willis. © Richard Langdon/Sailing Energy/World Sailing

Going into Sunday’s double points-scoring medal race Mills and McIntyre had a commanding eight-point lead over closest rivals Silvia Mas Depares and Patricia Cantero Reina of Spain.

Despite several attempts to get the race underway, the wind proved too light for fair competition and racing was abandoned, handing Mills and McIntyre victory.

The win sets the pair up perfectly for the 2018 season highlight, the Sailing World Championships taking place in Aarhus, Denmark, in August.

“Eilidh and I only teamed up a year ago and we won the 2017 World Cup Series final in Santander,” said Mills, 30, from Cardiff.

“We’ve had a couple of silvers this year but this is actually the first event we’ve won since then. It’s great and it’s really where we want to be. We’ve got the World Championships this summer followed by the first Olympic test event in Enoshima, and those will really be the events we’re aiming to peak for.”

Hannah Mills and Eilidh McIntyre. ©Ocean Images

Hannah Mills and Eilidh McIntyre. © Richard Langdon/Sailing Energy/World Sailing

McIntyre, 24, from Hayling Island, Hants, added: “It’s a great feeling to be back a year on and still be in the yellow winners’ bibs. We’ve learned a lot this year and we’re looking forward to the rest of the season. Two years out from the next Olympics we’re in a good position.”

Fellow Brits Amy Seabright and Anna Carpenter finished the regatta in eighth overall.

In the Laser fleet the British Sailing Team had four athletes contesting the medal race – Nick Thompson, Elliot Hanson, Michael Beckett and Lorenzo Chiavarini.

Rio 2016 Olympian Thompson, 32, from Lymington, Hants, began the race in third after a stellar week marred only by two results outside of the top seven, but a seventh-place medal race finish saw him slip to fourth overall.

It was teammate Hanson, fresh from winning the Medemblik Regatta, his first outing since returning to action after ankle surgery, who capitalised on the medal race to snatch bronze.

Elliot Hanson

Elliot Hanson. © Richard Langdon/Sailing Energy/World Sailing

Hanson, 24, from Macclesfield, Cheshire, led off the start line and held on right to the finish, despite having to complete a penalty turn halfway through the race.

“My return from injury has gone better than expected,” Hanson said. “There were a few sceptics after my win in Medemblik, the biggest one being myself, so to come away from the World Cup Series final with a medal is a great feeling and I still feel there’s much more to give.

“I think Marseille will be a great host for the 2024 Olympics, and I’m looking forward to our next visit already.”

Pembrokeshire sailor Beckett, who recently won silver at the Laser European Championships, finished 8th overall while Chiavarini, from Argyll in Scotland, came tenth.

In the Laser Radial medal race, Britain’s sole representative Georgina Povall was in second until a mistake saw her relegated to tenth. Povall, 23, from Norfolk, finished ninth overall.

The British Sailing Team’s closing day medal haul adds to the bronze won by Ben Saxton and Nikki Boniface in the Nacra 17 multihull class yesterday, and saw Great Britain awarded the Nations Trophy for best overall performance.

Full results from the regatta can be found here.