|Left to right: Guerrero, Balboa, Pérez and Scalesi. Photo: Official web|
On the other hand, the misfortune came to Santiago Scalesi and Spanish Luis Amado Pérez, who were leaders until the last day, but saw how the final victory eluded them a few kilometers from the finish line.
On day 5, from San Javier to Viedma (34 km.)...
the K2 start was still made every 30 seconds, like in time trial. It was the time for Balboa and Guerrero to give everything on the water. In a titanic effort, they reached their goal cutting almost all the advantage Scalesi and Pérez had achieved in the fourth stage. The strong wind on arrival at Viedma was no disincentive to young aspirants, who knew that in the last stage, where the start would be again all together, their sprint speed could be a very important asset in their pocket. Finally, just 8 seconds was the lead of the Spanish- Argentinian couple Scalesi and Pérez.
The fact that the race start on day 6 was again in one batch for the last 24 km. stage, between the bridges of Viedma (a circuit at the riverside walk with two mandatory portages), presaged the race would be a tight marking between the two favorite boats, where Scalesi and Perez could wait for their rivals to take the responsibility. But not everything could be under control and the day dawned with a strong wind that made the officials take the decision of changing the circuit, taking off one of the turns that was very exposed to waves. Despite having the course now along one of the banks, the tremendous waves caused problems to competitors, many of whom saw their waterpumps overwhelmed and not able to pump as much water as it was coming in the boat. Unfortunately for their interests , that was the case of Santiago Scalesi and Luis Amado Pérez. After a first round in which, of course, they had an some bizarre encounter with Balboa and Guerrero in the first turn they both managed to rejoin the main group. But later in the race, and after having gone through the portage in first position, Scalesi and Pérez saw their options sinking along with their boat. It took a couple of minutes to bring it to shore to resume the race, so the absolute triumph was clear now for Balboa and Guerrero, being seconds in the stage Juan Manuel Scalesi and Santiago Algañaraz, but who were still outside the final podium, and third Agustin Reyes and Guillermo di Renzo also getting third in the overall standings.
In K1, Alfredo Quiñanao got again both victories in the last two stages, confirming his strong leadership of the race. Always with small differences under or around the minute, but every day he was gaining seconds in his favor, while the fact that his rivals, especially Gastón Gaona and Sebastian Leyes were always swapping positions favored the hegemony of Quiñanao. Finally, he was awarded a well deserved victory with nearly 8 minutes ahead of Sebastian Leyes, second in a close fight with Gastón Gaona, who took the third step of the podium half a minute behind from Leyes.
In women, the international Argentinian paddler Loreña Ibáñez deserves a mention by winnig the mixt category, along with Andrés Silva, making better time than the first K1 Men, which is a good point to measure the strenght of the brave paddler. In the K2 Women race, victory for Claudia Kissner and Mariela Rúa. And for the first time in the 38 editions of Río Negro, a C1 raced and finished, more than eight hours later than the winners. This honour belongs to the brave Argentinian paddler Juan P. Benítez.
Here you can see the final standings :
- Stage 5
- Stage 6
- Final overall results