Following the protocol of the opening ceremony, this time with speech by Angela Pumariega, sailing Olympic champion in London 2012, and the always exciting song Asturias Patria Querida in the voices of the entire audience, Walter and Fiuza made a pristine start taking an excellent position at the front, next to the boat of Kiko Vega and Luis Amado Pérez. However, it soon became clear that Walter and Fiuza didn't want to miss the opportunity they had after having got a few precious meters over other favorites like Merchán/Alonso, Martínez/Becerro or Llamedo/Ramalho, who were forced to start a nig comeback in the first kilometers after a capsize at the start.
Other powerful crews, like South Africans Birkett and Schoeman or Spaniards Jorge Alonso and David R. Dorado, were in a second group where finally arrived Llamedo and Ramalho, but never seemed to have any chance of reaching the three K2s that were gradually positioning themselves ahead and made a time trial of this year's Sella, with gaps always around 20 seconds between them.Further back, the battle of the K1 was thrilling, as it often happens in this discipline. The favorites were not only fighting among themselves but with last minute guests who slipped into the top positions after some good starts. The South African Mike Arthur, member of the 200m national team, made an awesome start, as it could be expected from someone so explosive, and passed along Arriondas Hostel (first turn left in the river) the hostel with Borja Estomba among the top 25 kayaks, but different encounters were relegating them into rearmost positions, while Manuel Busto started passing K2s in a powerful manner and already went through La Remolina rapid (km. 2) in first place. Luis Martinez was following him closely after a very good start for him.
After them there was a whole string of paddlers who were looking for their niche in the crowd, including Rafael Carril, who is slowly making of great comebacks his particular tactic stamp. Tucked in the great melée (many comments like "but if he was by my side!" among the paddlers when they knew of his final position ...), the Oviedo Kayak paddler was slowly gaining positions with his powerful rhythm, so that approaching the rapid of La Presa, with just five kilometers to go, he was in third position commanding a bunch including Miguel Llorens, Alejandro Sánchez and Andrés Cangas. However, far from being pressured by them, in the final kilometers he hunted down Luis Martínez and gave no option to a sprint finish in which people like the recent U23 European Marathon Champion, Alejandro Sánchez, may have played his cards. With determination, Carril faced the finish line straight ahead and leaving all his rivals from the wash, including Luis Martínez, who managed to hold his third position to get on the podium next to winner Manuel Busto, who after having managed to hang on the wash of a good pair of K2s along the river, won a hard-fought victory that gives him a new single crown at the Sella.
|Winners Walter Bouzán and Álvaro F. Fiuza. Photo: Fotoyos|
The first sprint of the race was in the group that fought for the fourth place, where Emilio Llamedo and Portuguese José Ramalho came leading ahead of Birkett/Schoeman and J. Alonso/Dorado on their wash, being that one the order at the finish line.
In women, with not a massive registration and the last minute withdrawal of Danish champion Birgit Pontoppidan due to a stomach sickness, victory in the K2 discipline for Amaia Osaba and Lucia Arquero, who managed to win their first Sella as a couple, and the U23 European Marathon medalist Raquel Carbajo claiming the title in K1 in a well deserved victory and also making the women's record of the race in 1h25 '.
You can check the full results at this link.