La Seu d’ Urgell will host the final Canoe Slalom World Cup before the Olympic Games in London from 22-24 June 2012 at the Parc Olimpic del Segre. The city of La Seu d’Urgell was the location of the Canoe Slalom competition at the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games, and the course is famed for being one of the most innovative wildwater courses in the world. It has hosted multiple ICF World Cups and Championships and other international competitions.
With all Olympic quota places picked up and Olympic team selection processes complete, the La Seu d’Urgell World Cup will be used by some athletes to finalize their competitive preparations ahead of the Games, and will be a final test of their level of performance against that of their challengers at the Games.
As the Olympic Games countdown begins, there remain more questions than answers as to which athletes are primed for victory at London 2012. Who to look out for:
Tony Estanguet had a phenomenal weekend at the Pau World Cup last weekend, winning the Men’s C1 event by a margin. The La Seu d’Urgell World Cup will be the Frenchman’s second World Cup this season and he will be looking to continue this momentum into the Games. Great Britain’s David Florence is ready for the test, the record making Scot suffered a 50 second penalty in Pau that all but ended any possibility to repeat the magnificent result he achieved in Cardiff.
In the ultra competitive Men’s C2 category there have been different medallists on the podium at each World Cup this season. The Hochschorner brothers will not be competing this weekend and so the gates remain wide open for a clear front runner to emerge in this category. Great Britain’s David Florence and Richard Hounslow (GBR) won their home World Cup in Cardiff and Pierre Labarelle and Nicolas Peschier (FRA) won theirs in Pau. Spain will enter the two C2 boats of Jesus Perez and Daniel Marzo and Xavier Ganyet and Jordi Domenjo. Both boats were in Pau and both did not make it into the final, but propelled by a home crowd it could be anyone’s guess that either duo, or both, are about to make their luck.
In another category that has seen different medalists at every World Cup this season, and for the first time in the recent past, no Australians on the podium, it remains to be seen who will emerge dominant in this category. Australia’s Rosalyn Lawrence and Jessica Fox are names synonymous with C1 medals, but they are being consistently challenged by countries with fast growing Women’s Canoe programmes, not to mention the current World Champion Katerina Hoskova who was last weekend’s silver medallist.
The Men’s K1 event is proving to be a tricky affair this season as the “usual suspects” have all but floated down the course and out of medal contention. Only one of the top 25 paddlers from the 2011 ICF World Cup Ranking has medalled so far this season (Germany’s Sebastian Schubert). The likes of Peter Kauzer (SLO), the 2009 & 2011 World Champion and Daniele Molmenti (ITA), European Champion have both suffered penalties that have placed them out of medal contention. It’s anyone’s guess right now who will be standing on the podium this weekend, but Etienne Daille (FRA) is proving to be Men’s Kayak most consistent paddler.
Maialen Chourraut (ESP) is the “it girl” of Women’s Kayak this season. The Spaniard has won the first two World Cups and doesn’t look to be slowing down. This weekend should see her extend her lead in this category as she takes to the water in front of her home crowd. London bound Corinna Kuhnle (AUT) and Jana Dukatova (SVK) both failed to make the finals in Pau and will be looking to make up for a particularly forgettable weekend in Pau.
The competition begins on 22 June (Friday) at 09h00 (CET) with the C1M, K1M, C1W heats.
The programme can be accessed here. For more information on the La Seu d’Urgell World Cup visit: http://laseudurgell2012.worldcup.events.slalom.canoeicf.com/.
Results can be accessed here.
The competition will be broadcast LIVE on Sport Plus, ESPN 3 (USA), SPORTSNET (Canada), Sportel and other networks. Please note that you can also watch the event live on the ICF video website: http://eurovision.digotel.com/icf/index.html.