The Canoe Slalom World Cup series continues in Pau, France tomorrow from 15-17 June 2012. The Pau World Cup follows the previous one in Cardiff, Wales which saw Great Britain’s David Florence make history when he won two gold medals (C1 & C2) at the same World Cup event.
The Pau World Cup will be attended by over 250 athletes from 32 countries, representing all 5 continents. Coming off their success in Cardiff, Team GB will be looking to make an impression and keep their momentum going ahead of the Olympic Games.
France’s C1 team looking strong ahead of home World Cup
Headlining the Pau World Cup is Tony Estanguet (FRA) who sat out the World Cup in Cardiff but will be debuting his season in front of a home crowd. The former World Champion and Olympic Champion began his year on a high note having qualified for the Olympic Games ahead of his teammate and current World Champion Denis Chanut Gagaud, who will also be competing in the Men’s C1 event. Also in the mix will be Alexander Slafkovsky (SVK) and Nicolas Peschier (FRA), both of whom narrowly missed out on gold and silver medals respectively in Cardiff, having accrued penalties in the final.
Peter Kauzer (SLO) will be looking to make amends after his 6th place finish last weekend. The Slovenian was well placed to finish in 3rd place but penalties set him back.
“I was really tired before the race and I felt tired as I went down the course but when I saw the time I saw that I was still fast, but that touch was decisive,” said Kauzer. “Because of the wind it is hard to navigate your boats in between the gates and once you are off the line it’s difficult to get it back.”
K1 event to be most competitive
Also in serious contention to win a consecutive Men’s K1 World Cup gold medal in Pau is Sebastian Schubert (GER), he was perfect in Cardiff, both fast and finishing without any penalties. Focus will also be on the in-form Mike Kurt (SUI) who just narrowly missed out on a medal. Vavrinek Hradilek (CZE), like Peter Kauzer (SLO) will also be looking to get a boost in his performance having finished in 7th place last weekend.
Jana Dukatova (SVK) inked her place in London last week when she overcame the challenge from teammate Elena Kaliska in her second attempt for a place on the Slovakian Olympic Team. A silver medallist in Cardiff, she will nonetheless be looking to improve upon her performance and fine tune her preparations with the likes of Jessica Fox (AUS), who struggled a bit last weekend in the Women’s K1 event. Current World Champion Corinna Kuhnle (AUT) had posted the fastest time in the final but was brought back by penalties which left her two places off a place on the podium.
Team GB duos tipped to shine in Pau
If last weekend is anything to go by Great Britain C2 programme is set to rival that of Slovakia in the near future and possibly as soon as London 2012. Having qualified three boats for the semi final and two boats for the final, the host nation of the Olympic Games narrowly missed out on having a British 1 & 2 finish with Florence/Hounslow and Baillie/Stott. Florence and Hounslow would eventually claim 1st place but the latter acquired 2 penalty seconds that relegated them to 4th place and out of a place on the podium.
Of all the events last weekend the C2 category was the most intense, with the difference being made by the number of penalties. The Hochschorner’s have elected to train independently for the rest of the season before the Olympic Games, but the competition will not ease up as their teammates the Skantar cousins will be there to rev up the competition with the multiple British boats in contention and the Slovenian boats of Taljat/Bozic who won silver in Cardiff.
Women’s C1 category is the fastest growing category in Canoeing. A stronghold of the Australians, Rosalyn Lawrence and Jessica Fox made it a 1 and 2 for the Aussies, but the real talk was about Great Britain’s Kimberley Woods. Team GB may have found C1’s next big thing in their 16yr old star. The youngster put in a technically superior run in the final and just missed out on winning her first medal. Woods will be looking to go head to head with the best in Pau and will be joined by her bronze medal winning teammate Mallory Franklin.
The competition begins on 15 June (Friday) at 09h00 (CET) with heats.
The programme can be accessed here. For more information on Pau World Cup visit: http://pau2012.worldcup.events.slalom.canoeicf.com/en/home.
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.