Tuesday 22 May 2012

Walter Bouzán and Álvaro F. Fiuza (K2) and Iván Alonso (K1), winners of the Spanish Marathon Cup

Walter Bouzán y Álvaro F. Fiuza won the Spanish Marathon Cup held this last Saturday at Ribadesella (Asturias). Meanwhile, Iván Alonso claimed victory on K1 after a superb race.
Walter Bouzán and Álvaro F. Fiuza paddling to victory

In a quite bad day due to cold and rainy weather, the 4 kilometres course got crowded to see the evolutions of some of the world top paddlers fighting to go into the national team that will represent Spain at Marathon World Cup in Copenhagen (Denmark) in June. It was also highly expected the performance of the new couple formed by marathon legend Manuel Busto and his 24 year old partner Emilio Llamedo, who were also trying to qualify and win this Cup in their first official appearance.

Emilio Llamedo (left) and Manuel Busto (right)
Seven laps with their seven portages, short but on very thick sand, were going to be the judges to determinate the first marathon title of the year. After a powerful start, mostly that one of the K1, the first lap was just taken as a warm up to test how the rivals were responding. So actually 10 double boats arrived all together to the first portage. There, a first rush coming from Busto and Llamedo made a first selection and kept a very fast pace for the next 500 metres, making a smaller leading bunch, now composed by just four kayaks: Busto/Llamedo (Piragüismo Astur), Bouzán/Fiuza (Feve Oviedo Kayak), Rdguez. León/Fdez. Castañón (Fluvial o Barco) and Moreno/Valle (Iuxtanam/Monteoro). These last ones were suffering to keep on the wash and, after a whole lap more, lost contact. Finally paid their effort by being surpassed by locals Kiko Vega and Pedro Gutiérrez (SCD Ribadesella), who managed to go into fourth position signing an uprising race.

Ahead, trespassed the half of the competition, Bouzán and Fiuza used their superiority running at the portages to inject some suffering into their direct rivals, most of all León and Castañón, who needed to sprint for a while after the portages not to lose contact with the leaders. With this situation and the podium decided, just to see which could be the final positions, Bouzán and Fiuza didn't wait to the last portage and, after a slight mistake of Busto and Llamedo at the last turn, finally attacked very hard taking around 20 seconds of advantage and facing the last 2 km. alone in the lead. Busto and Llamedo were trying their best to chase them, with León and Castañón suffering on the wash, but there was no way to close the gap, but just to assure the silver medal. One hundred metres at the finish line between each K2 and Bouzán/Fiuza (gold) and Busto/Llamedo (silver) are the nominated for the Spanish national team going to paddle the World Cup in Denmark. León and Castañón, who just one week ago were champions at the Spanish Cup of river descent (white waters), took a well deserved bronze.

At the K1, we could see one of the best races of the weekend. From the very start, a seven boats bunch took the lead, with all the favourites within, who were Rafael Carril (Feve Oviedo Kayak), Xabier Ruiz de Aretxabaleta (Donostia Kayak), Borja Estomba (Feve Oviedo Kayak), Iván Alonso (Kayak Tudense), José Julián Becerro (Club Bañezano de Piragüismo), Jorge Alonso (Club Palentino de Piragüismo) and David Rodríguez Dorado (Escuela Piragüismo Aranjuez), this last one in his first absolute marathon race after some very succesful U23 years. For more than half race this was the situation, with tough portages who made some of the paddlers rush at the exit not to lose the wash. But after two thirds of the race, the group was finally broken and only four paddlers stay to decide the medals in the last lap: Iván Alonso, Rafael Carril, Jorge Alonso and Borja Estomba.
The leading bunch at the K1 race, great spectacle for the crowd at Ribadesella

It was then Rafael Carril who set the pace for the last two laps, but he got overpassed by Iván Alonso and Borja Estomba at the exit of the last portage, where these two young paddlers manage to go on their own for victory. Gold finally went to Alonso in a long sprint, with Estomba in silver. Both got the right to be nominated for the national team, while a 100 metres behind, Jorge Alonso was claiming bronze and leaving Carril out of the podium after a brilliant but worthless effort for the veteran paddler of Oviedo Kayak.

There was also a big number on U23 paddlers on competition, making a big group on the lead who had at least 8 paddlers and used the portages to make the differences. At one of them, Luis Amado Pérez (SCD Ribadesella) fell in the water when truing to seat on his kayak and lost about 7 or 8 positions. But knowing there were still many kilometres ahead, he succeded managing the gap and got the pace to go again into the leading bunch. In a very strong final lap, he claimed gold ahead of Guillermo Fidalgo (Kayak Pico Azul) and Jaime Manuel Sobrado (Kayak Tudense), silver and bronze in that order.

At the Women K1, three well known paddlers took all the attention and went for the medals from the very start: Amaia Osaba, Mara Santos and Naiara Gómez raced together for the first 4 laps until the Basque Naiara Gómez, visibly concerned, lost contact and the fight just had two contestants. But 200 metres before the last portage, with less than 1 km. to go, Mara Santos fell in at the middle of the harbour and took a long time to go on the kayak again, so Amaia Osaba took gold with no opposition, while Santos went for silver and Gómez took finally bronze. Great race too for the 4th, María Soria, who had to paddle on her own the whole race and never lost the aim, showing a strong performance. In U23, total superiority of Amparo González (Escuela Piragüismo Aranjuez), who didn't give a cance to her opponents.

In Senior Men C2, victory for José Manuel Sánchez and Antonio Campos (Ría de Betanzos), who comfortably had a 4 minutes gap on silver and bronze medalists, both from Club As Torres-Romería Vikinga de Catoira, Rubén Paz/Álvaro Rodríguez Rica and Ismael Pesado/Miguel Salgado, in this order.

On C1, group race for the first three canoes, all of them members of the national marathon team. It was finally Manuel Garrido, who had controlled the pace throughout the whole race, who made his movement and took gold before his club mate at Kaya Tudense Ramón Ferro, while bronze went to Alan Ávila (RCN Palma). José Francisco Rocha (Ría de Betanzos), Adrián Pose (Fresno de la Ribera-Trecisa-Reny Picot) and Javier Bernal (As Torres) went on the podium at the C1 U23 category.

You can see our video of the weekend at Elite Kayak TV.

You can check the full standings at this link. And here, the results of the Masters Marathon Cup.

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