Kauzer Doubles on Dramatic Day in Pau

Slovenia's Peter Kauzer announced his return to form by securing a double trip to the top step of the podium in Pau as the first day of finals concluded at the 2015 ICF Canoe Slalom World Cup Series Final.

The Slovenian's victory in the K1M final also earned him enough points to take the overall season title.

Pierre-Antoine Tillard (FRA, C1M) and Nuria Vilarrubla (ESP, C1W) also won on the day; whilst Matej Benus (SVK C1M) and Jessica Fox's (AUS, C1W) silver medal performances allowed them to amass enough points to take the season titles in their respective classes.

"I am really happy to win the World Cup Final because at the beginning of the season, I found it really hard to come back after my injury last year," said Kauzer.

The 31-year-old double World Champion has had a dramatic 12 months following a dislocated shoulder at the opening World Cup of 2014 that saw him sidelined for most of the season.

"I kept having ups and downs. Now I feel very good in the boat, I can push like in the final today and improve my runs between semifinals and finals."

This is the third time Kauzer has topped the World Cup series and marks a real turn in fortunes ahead of the crucial World Championship and Olympic Qualifier set for London next month.

On the day Vivien Colober (FRA) actually stopped-the-clock in the fastest time, but was later given a 50-second penalty that dashed any chance of a podium spot.

Mathieu DOBY (BEL) and Lucien Delfour (AUS) completed the podium in that order.

Notable absentees from the K1M final were Vavrinec Hradilek (CZE) and Boris Neveu (FRA) who failed to make the cut on the tricky 24-gate course following a day of controversial decisions.

Spain's Vilarrubla managed to outscore the sports leading light, Fox, in a tough C1W final.

The U23 World Champion commented, "I felt good today, I was confident on the water. I had a clear line to follow during the race, and I followed it."

As with all athletes, Vilarrubla main focus is the season's crescendo next month at Lee Valley.

"It’s promising for London. The goal was to clear out the mistakes I used to make in the first part of the season. I worked very hard during our one-month break and now all my efforts reflect in this victory.”

Fox, who took second on the day, commented, “It’s a good feeling to win the overall even if today my run wasn’t great, I am happy to be on the podium."

Austria's Viktoria Wolffhardt finished in third with a solid performance that will provide optimism for her future in the class.

France's Tillard ran away with the C1M gold with an impressive display of control and power in front of an expectant crowd.

"This course is good for me this year. I won the French trials and national title here in Pau last April," said the crowd favourite.

"Talking directly about his run, Tillard continued, "I did a perfect run from top to bottom. I planned to do a reverse on the tricky part before the turn, at gates 7 and 8, but I was too short in the stop before getting there so I had to go forward and it went well."

"It feels great to win in front of my home crowd."

"My season has been complicated. I got injured at the European Championships, then I was a bit unlucky in the C1 Men at the World Cups. Fortunately I won the bronze in C2 with my good friend Edern Le Ruyet. This is my first medal in C1, and it’s gold, so I am delighted."

"Now I am looking forward to rumbling on in London in September, reach the final, and why not more?"

For second placed Benus there were other issues also at play.

“Winning the World Cup Series for the second time is an awesome feeling, but for me it was more important to score points for the Slovak Olympic qualification, and I did it well.”

“I am in a good position, but we’re only half way. We can settle this in London at the Worlds, but if it’s not the case we will have to go to the Europeans.”

France’s Denis Gargaud Chanut completed the podium.

The action continues with finals of the K1W and C2M being played out midday on Sunday.

Today’s Results

C1M Final
1. Pierre-Antoine TILLARD (FRA)
2. Matej BENUS (SVK)

C1W Final
2. Jessica FOX (AUS)

K1M Final
1. Peter KAUZER (SLO)
2. Mathieu DOBY (BEL)
3. Lucien Delfour (AUS)

Overall World Cup Series Standings

1. Matej BENUS (SVK) 299
2. Benjamin SAVSEK (SLO) 246
3. Alexander SLAFKOVSKY (SVK) 231

1. Jessica FOX (AUS) 318
2. Katerina HOSKOVA (CZE) 246
3. Viktoria WOLFFHARDT(AUT) 245

1. Peter KAUZER (SLO) 247
2. Lucien Delfour (AUS) 218
3. Ondrej Tunka (CZE) 228

Canoe Slalom