Two-time U23 world champion Jakub Grigar and double European champion Kimberley Woods head an impressive start list for the 2018 ICF U23 and Junior Canoe Slalom World Championships in Ivrea, Italy, this week.

Slovakian Grigar, who made his Olympic debut in Rio in 2016, will be aiming for a third consecutive K1 title, but will face plenty of stiff competition.

Austria’s 2017 K1 junior world champion, Felix Oschmautz, Great Britain’s Bradley Forbes-Cryans and Australia’s Daniel Watkins are regular strong performers in senior World Cup competitions.

The women’s K1 and C1 fields will benefit from the absence of Australia’s Jessica Fox and Great Britain’s Mallory Franklin. Fox, in particular, has dominated the age competitions for several years before turning 24 this year.

Woods has won two senior European C1 titles, but is yet to win an U23 or junior world title. The 22-year-old is one of several women who will be contesting both the K1 and the C1 in Ivrea.

Others expected to push for medals include Austria’s Nadine Weratschnig, Brazil’s Ana Satila, and the younger of the Fox sisters, Noemie.

In the women’s C1, Czech Tereza Fiserova, a silver medallist at last year’s senior world championships, is expected to put in a strong performance after several strong World Cup showings this year.

Fellow Czech, Lukas Rohan, and Frenchman Cedric Joly head a strong men’s U23 C1 field. Rohan and Joly, together with Australia’s Watkins, have already shown good form at the opening World Cup events.

The best of the local contenders is likely to be Raffaello Ivaldi, a world cup medallist who is very familiar with the Ivrea course.

The 2018 ICF U23 and Junior World Championships begin in Ivrea on Tuesday, and run through until Sunday.

Great Britain <a href='/webservice/athleteprofile/35650' data-id='35650' target='_blank' class='athlete-link'>Kimberley Woods</a> C1 Prague

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