Thursday, 28 June 2012

Marathon World Cup in Denmark (part II): World Champions Bouzán and Fiuza give no chance

As it’s usual, Sunday was the day for the doubles. Again a grey morning that even ended with some rain during the seniors race. Along the morning, the first victories went to James Allen and George Barnicoat (GBR) in the Junior Men K2, the local Emma Jørgensen and Emilie A. Petersen (DEN) in the Junior Women K2, Mattias Ebhardt and Jens Martens (GER) in the Senior C2 and Fay Lamph and Lizzie Broughton (GBR) in the Senior Women K2. In this last race, the main favorites, Italians Cicali and Alberti, both medalists in the K1 the day before, couldn’t finish the race.

It was time then for the very competitive race of the Senior Men K2, with a few powerful boats but two main favorites, which were Walter Bouzán and Álvaro F. Fiuza (ESP), current World Champions for two years in a row, and Romain Marcaud and Edwin Lucas (FRA), current European Champions.

The start, facing a straight line of 2 km. until the first turn, was very quickly and the favorites wanted to take a good place at the front of the group. Marcaud-Lucas were setting the pace, while some couples had troubles to find the good wash and that even finished with some touches that were repeated in the first turn. Norwegians and British were mostly affected, but finally they could join the main group again arriving aat the first portage.

With the positions settled down in a 10 units group and still six laps ahead, the rhythm became a bit more quiet. Bouzán-Fiuza, Marcud-Lucas and the also Spanish León-Castañón were the three boats exchanging the first position, but World Champions Bouzán-Fiuza always showed a good pace everytime the group was facing the portage, push harder 200 metres before to enter it in first position and then be able to choose which side they wanted to carry the kayak.

Laps were falling down and the push at the portages, mainly from the Spanish boats, started to struggle some other couples, so finally there was a six boats group with Bouzán-Fiuza (ESP), León Castañón (ESP), Marcaud-Lucas (FRA), Olsen-Blach (DEN) and two K2s who arrived from further positions in a very good comeback: Farrell-Simmons (GBR) and the very young Thele-Sletsjøe (NOR), who last year became Junior World Champions at Singapore.

It was then when Bouzán and Fiuza decided that it was time to shake up the race and pushed very hard before the sixth portage, jumped off the kayak and ran so quickly that they managed to take a 20 metres advantage when starting paddling again. Having opened the gap, they didn’t want to give a chance to their rivals and made a fantastic 2.000 straight to the upper turn, which let them open the gap until 100 metres. Behind, León-Castañón lost contact with the prosecutors group, now with France, Denmark, Norway and Great Britain knowing that probably they would fight for just silver and bronze. That feeling made them slow down trying to save some energy, so the leaders arrived to the seventh and last portage with a comfortable 300 metres gap. They secured the run while having a look for their compatriots in the second group. Just one kilometre after they claimed gold with a minute and a half over the silver medal.

Those remaining positions on the podium were hardly fought at the last portage and Marcaud-Lucas (FRA), managed to enter the water neck to neck with Thele-Sletsjøe (NOR), who paddled really hard to leave behind Olsen-Blach and Farrell-Simmons and then secure at least the bronze medal. The French just let them set the pace until the last turn and that was the place where they managed to go on the inside and face the finish line ahead. In a strong final, they didn’t give a chance and took silver, while the Norwegians too bronze. No reward for Farrell and Simmons great last effort, arriving just six seconds out of the medals. A meritory fifth position was for the Danish Olsen and Blach, who both also made a great marathon the day before in K1, even with Olsen getting bronze.

So, a new gold medal for the awarded Spanish couple Bouzán-Fiuza and a serious advice for the future from Norway: no one over 21 years old in the team and fighting at all levels with the international stars, bronze included for the 19-year-old Joar Thele and Karl Anders Sletsjøe. Impressive performance.

You can check the results of this World Cup at this link.

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