France's Olympic slalom trials surprise

France’s Sébastien Combot (K1M) and Marie-Zelia Lafont (K1W) upset the form book and will now represent the tricolour at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games as an exciting five days of racing concluded at the French National Championships in Pau.

Both outscored their rivals over the best of three races that also took into account final placing’s from the preceding ICF Canoe Slalom World Championships.  

Denis Garguad (C1M) and the duo of Matthieu Péché and Gauthier Klauss (C2M) successfully topped the final placing’s in the men’s canoe events after stopping-the-clock-fastest in two of the three decisive runs at the Pau-Pyrénées Whitewater Stadium.

They will join Combot and Lafont in Rio later this year when the Games roll into town.

Reining Olympic Champion Emilie Fer (K1W) was arguably the biggest name to miss out on Rio; she was outscored by the talented Lafont who collected her second French National Title in succession and with it a dream ticket to the biggest event in sport.

Boris Neveu was another big name to miss the cut after a late surge in form from 2007 World Champion Combot provided victory by the slimmest of margins with just zero-point-six-of-a-second deciding who would be on the Olympic start line.

France’s 2012 Olympic K1M representative Etienne Daille finished just behind Combot and Neveu but never troubled the top two who were in a class of their own.

With three-time Olympic Champion Tony Estanguet (C1M) retiring and Fer and Daille not making the team only the C2M pairing of Péché and Klauss have Olympic experience.

The duo will be hoping to make the podium and top their fourth place from the London Games. 

In the non-Olympic C1 Women’s discipline Claire Jacquet won two of the three runs and took to the top step of the podium.

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French National Championship Medallists

For full results click here

K1 Women

1.    Marie-Zelia Lafont (Olympic Selection)
2.    Emilie Fer
3.    Carole Bouzidi

K1 Men

1.    Sébastien Combot (Olympic Selection)
2.    Boris Neveu
3.    Etienne Daille

C2 Men

1.    Matthieu Péché and Gauthier Klauss (Olympic Selection)
2.    Hugo Cailhol and Nicolas Scianimanico
3.    Pierre Picco and Hugo Biso

C1 Men

1.    Denis Garguad (Olympic Selection)
2.    Pierre-Antoine Tillard
3.    Nicolas Peschier

C1 Women

1.    Claire Jacquet
2.    Laurine Naveau
3.    Cécile Tixer

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