France has dominated the team events on the opening day of the ICF wildwater canoeing world championships in La Seu, Spain, picking up three of the five gold medals on offer.

The French won the men’s C1, men’s C2 and women’s C1 world titles, with the Czech Republic and Slovenia taking the remaining two titles.

Louis Lapointe, Tony Debray and Quentin Dazeur got the championships off to a winning start for the French with a convincing victory in the men’s C1.

They finished 1.94 seconds ahead of the Czech Republic, with Croatia taking the bronze.

“We are very happy, it was a good race,” Debray said.

“We had a very good start, and the second part was just okay. The objective was to win, so we are very happy.”

Lapointe said he felt confident their time would go close to winning the gold.

“We knew the time that we could do at this stadium, because we have done a lot of races here,” he said.

“Our time was very good, so even though we were waiting at the finish line it was not so bad for us.”

France C2 men wildwater teams La Seu 2019

The trio later teamed up with Stephane Santamaria, Lucas Pazat and Ancelin Gourjault to win the men’s C2 team race, finishing more than nine seconds ahead of Germany, with the Czech Republic finishing third.

France’s third gold medal came in the women’s C1 team event, with Elsa Gaubert, Helene Raguenes and Margot Beziat triumphing ahead of the Czech Republic, with Germany third.

Czech Republic women K1 team wildwater La Seu 2019

The Czech Republic successfully defended their women’s K1 team crown, with Martina Satkova, Anezka Paloudova and Barbora Dimovova just edging out France, with Germany a full second behind in third.

“At the beginning we made a little mistake, so at the first split time we were sitting in second or third place, so when we got to the finish line and I saw we were first, it was so amazing,” Satkova said.

“This is such a hard course, it’s really easy to make a mistake. So this is so nice to win.”

The trio will now go up against each other in the individual events, but Paloudova said it will not be a problem.

“The spirit on the Czech team is so good, we do a lot of things together, so I think it makes us powerful,” she said.

“We are still friends and we are still sharing a house together for this week.”

Slovenia also successfully defended their world crown in the men’s K1 team event. The trio of Simon Oven, Anze Urankar and Nejc Znidarcic are expected to fight for the individual gold later this week, but were happy to work together as a team on the opening day.

The win continued a remarkable wildwater career for Znidarcic.

“I’m really happy, this is my sixth world title with the team, and I counted yesterday, I have won with 11 different people,” he said.

“But this is the first for us as a team. It’s a nice beginning for us. It was very easy to paddle with these two, I just followed them down the course.”

France finished 0.40 seconds behind in second place, while the Czech Republic picked up the bronze.

Slovenia K1 team wildwater men La Seu 2019

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