|Four Winter Championships for Llamedo at just 25 years old. Foto: E. Durán|
Under a very nice weather, the senior K1 race was the highlight of a Sunday morning that we will comment in successive entries. After a hectic start, as usual with the 70 best paddlers from the qualifying on Saturday over 2,000 meters (and it must be said, somewhat like a "pretty bad start" by the officials), the lead was divided into two arrow points, one with the main favorites on the left bank, with Hernanz, Cosgaya and Cubelos, while the center lined was leaded by Olympic Champion Carlos Perez Rial with Carlos Garrote and Rodrigo Germade on his wash. Meanwhile, an explosive Joan Ardit tried it himself on the right.
Finally, under Barqueta bridge, the race surrendered to the pace set by Javier Hernanz, who leaded the return of the first lap followed by a large group of at least a dozen paddlers with all favorites except perhaps Emilio Merchán, who came in a very large second group led by Kiko Vega, just 30 meters off the lead.
They began the two short laps and the large groups started to struggle at the turns. In the first one was Diego Cosgaya who attacked from the inside and made suffer some of the back paddlers, like Xabier Ruiz de Aretxabaleta or World Marathon Champion Iván Alonso, who was handicapped by a paddle touch with one of his teammates.
Gradually the group lost units but gained suspense, with a clear man to man approach between Cubelos and Hernanz, with this last one at all times trying not let Cubelos come up despite his efforts. Yet no signs of wanting to take to the control by Emilio Llamedo, who made all the turns on the outside, having to make a little extra effort, but apparently recovering easily the wash of the leader.Then came the final 500 metres with the Hernanz on the lead, Cubelos on his right wash trying to surpass him and Llamedo on the left. With still 400 metres to go, Iñigo Peña seemed somewhat closed on the diamond wash and Diego Piña seemed already suffering on second was, as well as Cosgaya. Then, this last one tried to take advantage by going wide to look for clean water, but that move coincided with the start of a very long sprint forced by Cubelos and Cosgaya definitely lost his chance to surprise. Iñigo Peña and Diego Piña also had just lost contact due to the strong boost of the three on the lead, who looked like definitely claiming the medals with 200 metres to go. Hernanz and Cubelos were struggling with just a half bow difference, but when it seemed that Llamedo was already relegated to bronze, he pulled out of the hat a prodigious hundred meters sprint where he managed to surpass Hernanz's full boat and finished in victory, claiming with his arm raised the leadership he earned in front of a devoted audience.
Fourth Winter title for Milín, who starts the season showing he's back on track and this year we will have to count on him to be fighting for the titles. After silver and bronze medals of Javier Hernanz and Francisco Cubelos (U23 winner), the order was Peña (U23 silver), Piña, Cosgaya and Oscar Carrera in seventh to take the U23 bronze. Note that four out of the top ten were paddler from Kayak Tudense. One of their representatives, Roi Rodriguez also gave a great example of pride and sportsmanship when, after breaking the paddle and capsizing at the start, approached the bank looking for a new one and made a "solo" 5,000 to finish into the time control. Chapeau. But it is also worth noting that the talent is concentrated (and has done historically) in the village of Arriondas, because that town of just over 2,500 people yesterday ended up in gold and silver at Senior K1 and gold at K1 Junior. Simply admirable.
All results of the weekend are available directly from this link of the RFEP: