|Renata Csay in the center, yellow boat. Picture: Jan N|
Antonio Campos (ESP) and Marton Kavar (HUN) decided in the C1 race that they didn’d want a large group around and pushed hard from the start, managing to make the gap bigger on every lap over a group of four that was more into the fight for bronze than into the chase for the leaders. Not far from them, Tamas Kiss (HUN) and David Mosquera (ESP) were fighting for bronze without losing the perspective of a virtual comeback to the leading par, but after 4 laps it was clear that gold and silver were unreachable.
|Marton kavar (HUN) entering the finish line. Picture: Jan N|
A large group including the main favorites leaded the Men Senior K1 race from the very beginning. The Danish sprinter Rene Poulsen set the pace for most of the first lap, but after the first portage, marathonians started to appear in the lead. Iván Alonso (ESP), José Ramalho (POR), Hank McGregor (RSA) were always among the first positions with Cyrille Carré (FRA), Oliveira (BRA) and Gere (HUN).
At the fourth portage, where eleven paddlers arrived at the put-out, Ramalho, Alonso and McGregor made the first serious attack and pulled away during more than one kilometer. McGregor looked confident in the chance of getting rid of another eight paddlers. Ramalho relayed him for a while but Alonso looked not very interested, so after some talk they calmed down again. By the top turn the group was including again the eleven paddlers who entered the previous portage.
Then, drama appeared before the fifth portage. After some movements on the packed wash of the main group, Ramalho took a swim. Disaster for the brave Portuguese paddler, one of the main favorites for gold. Anyway, he managed to go again in the kayak at the shore and started a real chase race to close the 500 meters gap with the leaders. Meanwhile, Rene Poulsen decided to show his sprinting skills and closed a 40 seconds gap in less than 2 kilometers. Awesome comeback that put him again in the fight for the medals with just 9km to go.
Marathonians didn’t panic and even let him take the lead, as they were already saving energy for the last portage. The crowd could feel the tension growing as the last portage was coming. 300 meters before the portage the pace increased dramatically and the main favorites appeared in the first positions to literally jump on the jetty. After a hectic run, McGregor, Alonso and Carré got a few seconds gap, with the South African in the lead. It took a while Alonso and Carré to get on his wash, but when they finally made it, the determination didn’t fade in McGregor. After the last turn and with just 500 meters to go, he set a very strong pace that made his rivals unable to pass him. Hank McGregor claimed then his third Marathon World title after a great race. Iván Alonso (ESP) and Cyrille Carré (FRA) got finally silver and bronze, completing a magnificent podium.
|Hank McGregor, World Champion for the third time. Picture: Jan N|