Three wins from four races, a commanding lead in the men’s K1 standings this season, but try and tell Czech Vit Prindis he is favourite for World Championship gold this month and he’ll shut you down straight away.

It took throbbing back pain to keep Prindis off the podium at Markkleeberg in July, the only blot on what is a perfect copybook for the 28-year-old paddler this season.

Now back to full fitness, and a win in Ivrea making it three out of four World Cup gold medals this year, Prindis has good reason to feel confident about this month’s Canoe Slalom World Championships in Pau.

But he refuses to accept he’ll go into 2017’s biggest event as the gold medal favourite.

“I don’t think that I will be favourite, but I will try again to do my best,” he said.

“Maybe I will once again have number one on my chest, but I am not thinking in my mind that I am number one.

“I just believe that I’m paddling now good, I am fast, and that’s enough for me.”

At the start of 2017 Prindis spoke about his goal to rise above a very crowded pack of male Czech K1 paddlers, and to win a medal at the World Championships.

He also pondered skipping the final two World Cup events so he could be fresh and ready to take on the world in Pau. That plan appears to have fallen by the wayside; he won in Ivrea on Saturday, and looks set to race in La Seu D’Urgell at the World Cup finale next weekend.

“This has been my best year ever,” Prindis said.

“I changed a few things, and I believe I am more mentally prepared for my races. I believe in myself, and I believe in my skills.

“I train hard and I think that I can be on the top. And that’s what I think on the start line – just show everyone what I can do.

“I didn’t expect that this many times I would be on the top in the World Cups. I was hoping today that maybe I would make the final, and then maybe make the top three.”

In Markkleeberg Prindis raced despite a painful back, and as a result failed to make the final. He took advantage of the two month break to make some changes to his kayak.

“It’s a long-term thing, I think that I have trouble with my seat in the boat, which changed my balance,” he said.

“But I have been working on it for a couple of weeks, and now it is much better. I have also changed the seat, so I think that I have improved it a lot. But I have to keep working on it.”

Canoe Slalom
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