As is usual, Sunday was the ‘doubles’ day. Unfortunately again a grey morning that even ended with some rain during the Senior’s race. To begin, the first victories went to James Allen and George Barnicoat (GBR) in the Junior Men’s K2, the local Emma Jørgensen and Emilie A. Petersen (DEN) in the Junior Women’s K2, Mattias Ebhardt and Jens Martens (GER) in the Senior C2 and Fay Lamph and Lizzie Broughton (GBR) in the Senior Women’s K2. In the last race, the main favourites, Italians Cicali and Alberti, both medalists in the K1 the day before, couldn’t finish the race.
In the very competitive Senior Men’s K2 race, there were a few powerful boats but the two main favourites, were Walter Bouzán and Álvaro F. Fiuza (ESP), current World Champions for two years in a row, and Romain Marcaud and Edwin Lucas (FRA), current European Champions.
The start, facing a straight line of 2 km until the first turn, began quickly with the favourites wanting to take a good place at the front of the group. K2 pair, Marcaud and Lucas were setting the pace, while some couples had troubles finding the good wash. The Norwegians and British were mostly affected, but managed to join the main group at the first portage.
With positions settling down to a group of 10 and with still six laps ahead, the rhythm became a bit more established. Bouzán-Fiuza, Marcud-Lucas and the also Spanish León-Castañón were the three boats exchanging first place, but World Champions Bouzán-Fiuza always showed good pace every time the group faced a portage pushing harder 200 metres prior, to enter the portage in first position and then being able to choose which side they wanted to carry the kayak.
As laps progressed and with the Spanish push at portages, other pairs started to struggle until finally there was a six boat lead group of Bouzán-Fiuza (ESP), León Castañón (ESP), Marcaud-Lucas (FRA), Olsen-Blach (DEN) and two K2s who made a very good comeback: Farrell-Simmons (GBR) and the very young Thele-Sletsjøe (NOR), who last year became the Junior World Champion at Singapore.
It was then that Bouzán and Fiuza decided it was time to shake up the race and pushed very hard before the sixth portage, jumped off the kayak and running so quickly that they managed to take a 20 metres advantage when they started paddling again. Having opened the gap, they didn’t want any chance of their rivals catching them and paddled a fantastic straight to the upper turn, which let them open the gap to 100 metres. Behind them, León-Castañón lost contact with the rest of the field, leaving France, Denmark, Norway and Great Britain fighting for silver and bronze. The leaders arrived to the seventh and last portage with a comfortable 300 metres gap. They secured the gold a minute and a half ahead of the silver medalists.
The remaining positions on the podium were hardly fought for at the last portage with Marcaud-Lucas (FRA), managing to enter the water neck and neck with Thele-Sletsjøe (NOR), who paddled really hard to leave behind Olsen-Blach and Farrell-Simmons to at least secure the bronze medal. The French let them set the pace until the last turn where they managed to overtake them on the inside and cross the finish line first. In a strong final, they took silver, while the Norwegians won bronze. Unfortunately there was no reward for Farrell and Simmons’ great last effort, arriving just six seconds out of the medal’s time. A meritorious fifth position went to the Danish - Olsen and Blach - who both completed a great marathon the day before in K1, with Olsen getting bronze.
So, a new gold medal for the awarded Spanish couple Bouzán-Fiuza and a serious advice for the future from Norway: no one over 21 years old in the team and fighting at all levels with the international stars, bronze included for the 19-year-old Joar Thele and Karl Anders Sletsjøe. Impressive performance.
So, a new gold medal for the renowned Spanish couple Bouzán-Fiuza and a serious prospect for the future from Norway: no one over 21 years old in the team and competitive on all levels with the international stars, with bronze for the 19-year-old Joar Thele and Karl Anders Sletsjøe. Impressive performances!
You can check the results of this World Cup at this link.