Sunday, 10 January 2016

Río Negro, day 1: Victorious return of Pinta and Mozzicafredo

Pinta and Mozzicafredo facing the finish line. Photo: Matías Subat
The first stage of the 40th edition of the Río Negro Regatta (Argentina) recovered the starring of the river kings, Néstor Pinta and Martin Mozzicafredo. The 12-time champions returned to the water after an absence of two years and cutted from its roots the expectations about their duel with the defending champions, Franco Balboa and José Luis Guerrero, who yesterday, in the first assault, lost more than three minutes despite being the second boat through the finish line.

For the second time in history, the race began in the town of Cipolleti and not in Neuquen, the usual starting point. With some unstable and cloudy weather, Balboa and Guerrero took the lead just after the start and set a blistering pace.
They wanted to put some land in between with a very fast pace that could hardly be held by their rivals. However, the hardness of the water with strong currents, whirlpools and quite a lot of dirt and weed, made them pay quickly the price and the young paddlers eventually burst. That's when the experience of masters Pinta and Mozzicafredo came up and slowly but steadily advanced to the first position and started gradually putting second after second on their rivals. Finally, the difference in the finish was more than three minutes, stablishing a very important margin to control the following stages against unforeseen surprises.

In K1, victory for Iván Alonso (ESP), who in the absence of rivals of enough entity in the senior category, made the whole stage along with Nicolás Salvo, stage winner in category U23 and the only paddler who looks to be able to put some pressure on the Spaniard. According to Alonso, this first stage was comfortable and he used it to adapt to the river after a very long trip from Europe just two days before. Today, Sunday, in the second stage of 59 km, Alonso aims to harden the race a bit to measure Salvo, although with the prudence that involves a day that will involve around three hours of paddling and in the heat of a summer midday at this latitude.

You can see the results of day one here:

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