This weekend has been held at Portugal the second competition of the Nelo Winter Challenge, after the one held last month at Pas de Calais (FRA). After both races, the absolute winner was the French paddler Maxime Beaumont, who had already won the Pas de Calais competition. This time, there were plenty of contestants from first line teams, including people from Hungary, Russia, Poland, Norway, France, Spain, Portugal, etc...
On saturday, the races were over 2.000 metres (you can check the full results at this link. A meteoric Fernando Pimenta showed the quality supposed to an A finalist in Szeged and stopped the clock at an impressive 7'43", 11 seconds over the second paddler, the also Portuguese Emanuel Silva, while the russian army was left behind with Beaumont among them (Medvedev, Beaumont, Nikolaev and Rhyakov was the order). Behind them arrived the first Spaniards, Xabier Ruiz de Aretxabaleta (renamed as "Pérez" in the results...) and Óscar Amandi, with a very nice time of 8'04" both. The third Sapnish was Borja Prieto with 8'08" in 12th position. Finally, Ekaitz Saies didn't take part over this distance and couldn't aspire to the final victory in the Challenge.
About the ladies, the 2.000 was for the Olympic champion Natasa Janics, from Hungary, with less than a second over the Portuguese Teresa Portela, both in 9'17", with the also Portuguese Beatriz Gomes third with 9'18".
On the other hand, the C1 race wasn't for the favourite, the also Olympic and World champion Attila Vajda, who was second behind the pushing French Romain Beugnet (9'12"), showing the great work which France has been doing at this discipline over the last years. In addition, his brother Mathieu Beugnet was third, leaving out of the podium the English James Train. First Spanish was José Pregal in eighth position (9'33").
Sunday was the day for the 200 metres, where the Spanish Ekaitz Saies strated as one of the favourites. Under a very unpleasant weather in a cold, rainy, windy morning the victory was finally for the Canadian Mark de Jonge, who overpassed his rivals in an impressive boost over the last 25 metres. The photo finish showed a 3 thousandths difference with Maxime Beaumont, second, being third Ekaitz Saies. At this link you can check the results of the 200 metres distance.
In C1, the bronze medalist in Szeged, Spanish Alfonso "Sete" Benavides, was surprisingly second after the Ucranian Maksymchuk, in a very closed final. Third place was for the French Thomas Simart, who left fourth his compatriot, A finalist in Szeged, Mathieu Goubel.
In the ladies category, victory eluded this time Natasa Janics, overpassed by the Polish Marta Walczykiewicz, while third and fourth were again the Portuguese Teresa Portela and Beatriz Gomes.
Added all the results over the two distances, the final overall results were as shown at this link.