Beaumont breaks through for K1 200 World Cup win in Belgrade

France’s Maxime Beaumont has broken through for a win over Rio gold medallist Liam Heath and Sweden’s Linnea Stensils has had the biggest win of her career on a big final day of the ICF Canoe Sprint World Cup 3 in Belgrade, Serbia.

There was also a return to form for the German K2 500 Olympic gold medallists, Franziska Weber and Tina Dietz, another solid win for the German men’s K4 500, and a breakthrough win for France in the women’s K4 500.

Belarus picked up another two gold medals in their first international competition of the season, Martin Fuksa won his fifth canoe gold medal of his World Cups campaign, and his Czech teammate Josef Dostal was a big winner in the men’s K1 500.

There were also gold medals for Portugal in the women’s K2 200, for Poland in the men’s C2 500, and a second gold medal for Canada’s Laurence Vincent-Lapointe in the women’s C1 200.

After winning silver behind Heath in Rio, and again last weekend in Szeged, Beaumont said it meant a lot to finally break through.

“It was very important for me, I would like to get at least one win over Liam before the European or World Championships,” he said.

“It will be a very good fight the next time we compete. I am a little tired because I have had a lot of competition without going home, but I tried to do the maximum with the energy I have.”

Sweden’s Stensils made the K1 200 final in Rio, and said she had always struggled with confidence before today.

“It feels great to finally get on the podium after three fifth places in these world cups,” she said.

“I’ve been a little bit stressed in other races, so I tried to be in my own race. I tried not to think about the podium, just think about my own race. I know when I get a good race I can be near the top.

I think my technique and everything is good, I just need the confidence.”

Germany’s Olympic gold and silver K2 500 medallists, Franziska Weber and Tina Dietze, had a rare weekend off the podium in Szeged, but returned to form on Sunday with a comprehensive win.

“We are far away from the feeling we usually have, it’s a long way until we have good races in the Worlds and getting on the podium,” Weber said.

“It was January when we did the first training, and we have to become really healthy again after Szeged, where we had some problems finding power in the water.”

Their German teammates Max Rendschmidt, Tom Liebscher, Ronald Rauhe and Max Lemke won their second consecutive gold medal in the new Olympic K4 1000 event.

“It was a bit different than last week, we had different conditions.

We have enough things to do before Europe. We will see what we do in future races. We need some secret stuff for the Worlds, we will try some different stuff,” Rauhe said.

France’s Sarah Guyot, Sarah Troel, Manon Hostens and Lea Jamelot won the women’s K4 500 in one of their first races together.

“We are a new boat, so it is important for us to improve,” Jamelot said.

“Sarah Guyot has joined us since the Olympics, she takes the lead in the boat so it’s a good thing.

“We didn’t think about the result, we just wanted to do the best race we could.”

The Czech Republic’s Martin Fuksa continued his dominance of the canoe events in 2017, winning the C1 200 to bring his gold medal tally for the three World Cups to five.

“I raced C1 six times in the World Cups, and I have five gold medals, it is excellent for me,” Fuksa said.

“I train for the 1000, and 200 metres is a bonus for me. But I know every 200 race is a new chance. I will do all the C1 races in the European Championships, but I’m not sure for the World Championships.”

Czech teammate Josef Dostal posted a strong win in the K1 500, and said even though it is not an Olympic race, he likes the shorter race.

“I like the 500 race, because in the 1000 you have to think about a tactic before, but in the 500 I am discovering the tactic during the race,” he said.

“I am a long way from my best in the 1000. All my sprints are not that good. Maybe there was an exception last year when I won two World Cups, but the year before it was not good.”

Canada’s Laurence Vincent-Lapointe made it back-to-back wins in the women’s C1 200, but was far from happy with her race.

“I’m happy, but I would have liked to have had a better race,” she said.

“I’m disappointed because I didn’t have enough control over what I did. But it was okay.”

Portugal’s Francisca Laia and Joana Vasconcelos took the gold in the K2 200.

“This is the last World Cup and the last moment before the important races of the season, like the European and the World Championships,” Laia said.

“So we are very happy about winning here. It is a motivation for us. Every time we have been in the water we feeling stronger.”

Poland’s Tomasz Barniak and Wiktor Glazunow, racing for just a second time together, won a surprise gold from lane one in the men’s C2 500.

“This is our first gold for the World Cup so we are very happy,” Glazunow said.

“We had a good tactic because the wind was coming from the right side, so we had a big 150 metre finish.”

Belarus followed up their three gold medals from Saturday with another two canoe gold medals on Sunday.

Alena Nazdrova teamed up with Kamila Bobr to add the C2 500 gold to the individual gold she won on Saturday, while Volha Klimava and Nadzeya Makarchanka won the C2 200 title.

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