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Burling and Tuke cruise to gold in France

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 30/04/2016

Peter Burling and Blair Tuke's unbeaten charge towards the Rio Olympics has continued in France with a commanding victory in the 49er class.

The multiple world champions notched a 26th consecutive major regatta win and achieved it with a day to spare at the World Cup in Hyeres.

Six other Kiwi crews have qualified for the medal race but they all face a battle to match the gold won in dominant fashion by Burling and Tuke.

The dominant duo had a mixed finish to fleet racing, finishing 10th and first in the first two races on Sunday before being disqualified in the third for a start line infraction.

It was still enough to push them 48 points clear of their nearest rivals although Tuke says he expected better.

"A black flag is a black flag and anyone can get them if they are pushing the start," he said.

"We were a bit disappointed we finished how we have but at the same time we sailed really well this week and it's been great fun to have some pretty strong winds."

Burling says despite their dominance, hard work still lies ahead.

"If Rio was tomorrow, I don't feel like I think we are ready yet, so we've still got plenty in the tank to go and we are looking forward to the challenge."

Finn hopeful Josh Junior was third in his only race to improve to fourth and within sight of the podium in the double-point medal race.

He sits seven points behind Australian Jack Lilley and just two behind second-placed Anders Pedersen of Norway.

Junior's main rival for Olympic selection, Andrew Murdoch, missed the medal race after placing 12th.

Sam Meech is also fourth in the Laser class and close to the lead while Andy Maloney is a second Kiwi in the medal race, having qualified sixth.

The Olympic-bound 470 crews - women Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie and men Paul Snow-Hansen and Daniel Willcox - both dropped to sixth and out of medal contention.

The 49erFX pair Alex Maloney and Molly Meech and Nacra 17 combination Gemma Jones and Jason Saunders, both scraped into the top 10.

The unluckiest Kiwi was Sara Winther, who finished 11th in the Laser Radial class. Desperate to impress the Olympic selectors, she missed the medal race by one spot.

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