Keith Atkinson WINS Euro Cup
20 August 2005
The Windsurfing Euro-Cup Silvaplana is one of the highlights for the Stimorol Engadinwind.com Festival in Silvaplana (Switzerland). With both disciplines - Slalom and Racing - and a total prize money of EUR 20,000 it is a major attraction for the best windsurfers in the World. But also the venue itself is a unique location for a windsurfing event. The Lake is situated at the foot of the beautiful village Silvaplana on 1,875 metres height above sea level. The thin air in combination with the reliable Maloja thermic and the tremendous mountain panorama make the sailing on the Lake an unforgettable experience. All this together brought a new record fleet to the event.
Over 120 competitors from 23 countries create a perfect international atmosphere But not only the quantity of the competitors is impressive. The quality is even more breathtaking. All top racers of the Racing and Slalom scene made their way to Switzerland. First of all of course the current double World Champion Micah Buzianis (USA-34) from the United States. He is the reigning World Champion in the disciplines Slalom (IFCA) and Racing (Formula Windsurfing). Now he is hungry to fight also for glory in the Windsurfing Euro-Cup Silvaplana. But the conditions on Lake Silvaplana are completely different and he has to face numerous tough
Antoine Albeau (FRA-192) from France arrives in Silvaplana as current Formula Windsurfing European Champion and he is motivated to win the only Euro-Cup event in the homeland of his board sponsor AHD. Also on fire is Wojtek Brzozowski (POL-10) who is currently leading the Euro-Cup ranking and wants to ensure his victory in the most prestigious racing and slalom series of the World. As well as the current Speed World Rekord holder Finian Maynard (IBV-11) who fully dominated the first slalom event of the Windsurfing Euro-Cup in Alacati (Turkey). Full on fire is also Steve Allen (AUS-0), the Formula Windsurfing World Champion of 2003. Not to forget the other hotshots like Ross Williams (GBR-83), Gonzalo Costa Hoevel (ARG-3) and Arnon Dagan (ISR-1). But the level of competition in the Windsurfing Euro-Cup is extremely tight so that we can easily be surprised by unexpected faces on the podium.
The second day of the Windsurfing Euro-Cup Silvaplana brought perfect conditions for the Worlds best Windsurfers. At 15 to 20 knots the traditional marathon race was started with over 120 competitors from 23 different countries. In this race the competitors had to sail five rounds instead of the normal two. This race has its 28th anniversary and an additional prize money of 3.000,00 Swiss Franks. Andrea Cucchi (ITA-1) was the man of the day and won the marathon race.
After two days of waiting the best racers of the World finally got the chance to present their skills. On the final day of the Windsurfing Euro-Cup Silvaplana the 'Maloja wind' finally blew in its famous way. Two more races were run in front of the eyes of the numerous spectators. Andrea Cucchi (ITA-1) scored another bullet after his marathon victory but stumbled in the final race. Steve Allen (AUS-0) returned to his old strength and won the final race. But Keith Atkinson (GBR-56) from Great Britain was the man of the day and snapped away the victory in the fourth tour stop of the Windsurfing Euro-Cup as most important Racing and Slalom series of the World.
In the first race of the day the Australian Steve Allen was the first racer to cross the finish line but unfortunately he was disqualified. This opened the door for the "Italian Stallion" Andrea Cucchi to score the second victory. The British hotshot Keith Atkinson showed a tremendous performance with position two. The Formula Windsurfing World Champion of 2000, Wojtek Brzozowski (POL-10, Starboard, Neil Pryde) kept the pressure with a third place in front of the Italian youngster Alberto Menegatti (ITA-456) and F2 shaper Patrick Diethelm (ITA-120).
In the second race of the day Steve Allen was on fire! After his disqualification in the race before he found the right answer and fully
dominated the race. In the end the leader of the Fanatic team won with a breathtaking lead of over 500 metres on the rest of the fleet. But surprise of the day was the continuous high performance of Keith Atkinson, he made another incredible second place. The Israeli Arnon Dagan (ISR-1) confirmed that he has fully recovered from his knee operation with a third place while the Formula Windsurfing European Champion Antoine Albeau (FRA-192) showed a constant high performance level with a fourth place in front of the Dutch hotshot Dennis Littel (NED-13).
After three races the surprise was perfect. Keith Atkinson scored the best result of his career and won the Windsurfing Euro-Cup Silvaplana with a total of 9,0 points. In second place, only 0.4 points behind, followed the Italian Champion Andrea Cucchi with two victories and a total of 9,4 points. Position three went to Antoine Albeau whose constant performance resulted in 17.0 points. Wojtek Brzozowski defended the fourth place with 21.0 points against Arnon Dagan from Israel. Adriaan van Rijsselberghe (NED-8) was the best Youth competitor on position 11 with 36.0 points. Jimmy Diaz (ISV-11)was the best Master with 39.0 points. Allisson Shreeve (AUS-911) presented a great performance as best women in the strong men's fleet.
The Euro-Cup racers will now travel to Portugal. Next week the final event of the European tour will take place in Oeiras near the Portuguese capital Lisbon. All the top racers will be there to fight for the final points in the EC annual ranking list.