Younguns set blistering pace in La Seu D'Urgell
Nuria Vilarrubla (ESP) and Jakub Grigar (SVK) underlined their arrival on the senior circuit setting the fastest opening times in their respective events as the first day of action concluded at the 2016 ICF Canoe Slalom World Cup in La Seu d’Urgell, Spain.
Local hero Vilarrrubla, put an impressive six-and-a-half-seconds into the next fastest time as she glided down her home course with great control and speed to secure progression to the semifinal stage.
Meanwhile, 19-year-old Grigar showed just why so many are talking him up to be a future star in the K1M.
“I wanted to go safely down and see what happened. It was pretty fast so I was pleased with that.”
The Slovakian was massively underplaying a performance that left him with the best time of the day down the tight and tricky Spainish course.
“Usually I feel pressure, but not today. I felt really motivated and relaxed for my run.”
It’s been a rollercoaster season for the young star who was only, at best, an outsider to secure the Slovakian K1M Olympic spot.
"You always hope you will make the Olympics, but I didn’t know I was able to do it. The guys that I paddled against are very good. I was really pleased.”
Not so pleased will be two of the sports biggest names, the Olympic Champion Daniele Molmenti (ITA) and World Champion Vavrinec Hradilek (CZE), both were eliminated at the first hurdle.
Maialen Chourraut (ESP) went through the first heat in pole position in the K1W. The 33-year-old is looking to win a third World Cup gold on her home course.
Brazil’s Ana Satila occupied second spot and was one of six K1W to break the 100-second barrier in the opening heat - Irati Goikoetxea (ESP) Stepanka Hilgertova, Melanie Pfeifer (GER) and Jessica Fox (AUS) were the other four.
Matej Benus (SVK) showed why he is the one going to Rio ahead of a strong crop of countrymen in the C1M.
The talented an ultra smooth Slovakian stormed down the 1992 Olympic course with a faultless run that stopped-the-clock nearly two-seconds sooner than the next in line, Ander Elosegi (ESP).
Regular podium placers, Benjamin Savsek (SLO), Alexander Slafkovsky (SVK) and David Florence (GBR) also progressed at the first time of asking.
For Florence, the double C1M World Champion, La Seu will provide the only opportunity to assess his form against the rest ahead of the Games, with the Brit opting to replace racing for training on the Rio course over the next few weeks.
Later Florence joined forces with Richard Hounslow (GBR) in the C2M, the 2013 World Champions needed a second run, but the pair progressed to semifinal after correcting their earlier errors.
The 2014 World Champions, Luka Božič and Sašo Taljat (SLO) were the top performers of the day in Florence and Hounslow's class and won the opening heat with a comfortable 2.09 second margin.
The action continues tomorrow at the C1M, C1W and K1M semifinal followed the finals.
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