Report by Alessandro Leonori, Sportscene’s Downriver racing contributor
I arrived with the Italian team on Saturday afternoon 23rd June for the upcoming Downriver World Championships (June 27 to July 1). Val'd'Isere is a magnificent valley. A lot of snow is still on the mountains, and it’s currently melting due to high temperatures. This provides a lot of water on the Isere river, sometimes outside the official "water release timetable" provided by the organizing committee.
A lot of national teams are already here: Belgium, Netherlands, France, Germany and Serbia among others. It seems that some 30 nations will take part in this great event: the French have done a very good job and it reflects their deep love of canoeing, especially this particular discipline.
All the athletes are trying to search for the best lines on a race venue where the difficulty level is quite low on approximately the first 12 of the 15 minutes. The last part is indeed very difficult, especially with the 35m3 flow expected for the sprint race. Usually on these first few days, the French release 25m3, the level necessary for the classic race.
The organizers have already set up tents, cables for river rescue, dedicated signs, etc. but during the next few days the race venue will radically change, as a lot of spectators are expected to arrive. WildWater TV Italia, on its La Plagne 2012 dedicated page (www.wwtv.it/laplagne2012) will follow the Worlds, including the first training sessions, through some videos that will hopefully be posted the very next day after film recordings are made. The word "hopefully" is used, because sadly the internet connection is a bit slow where we're based, so let's keep our fingers crossed!
Other updates will be posted soon!