Olympic champions do it tough 25 years after slalom returned to Barcelona

Two of the Rio gold medallists had to do it the hard way, but all four are safely through to weekend action at the ICF Canoe Slalom World Cup final at the venue where the sport made its Olympic return 25 years ago.

Great Britain’s Joseph Clarke in the men’s K1 and France’s Denis Gargaud Chanut in the men’s C1 needed second runs at the La Seu d’Urgell slalom course, the home of canoe slalom at the Barcelona Olympics in 1992.

Spain’s Maialen Chourraut gave the local fans plenty to cheers about when she qualified sixth fastest behind series leader Ricarda Funk in the women’s K1.

Germany’s Funk is chasing a fourth consecutive World Cup title, and recorded a perfect run of 102.37 to finish ahead of Olympic silver and bronze medallist, Jessica Fox of Australia, on 103.28.

Clarke made a disastrous return to racing, picking up 100 seconds in penalties for missing two gates on his first run, but then made amends on his second journey down the course to be comfortably qualify for Saturday’s semi-finals.

Fastest qualifier in the K1 was France’s Boris Neveu on 91.52, ahead of Czech Jiri Prskavec on 92.04.

Gargaud Chanut was 28th after his first run behind Slovakia’s Alexander Slafkovsky, before finding his form on the second run.

Slafkovsky’s time of 97.37 was 0.70 seconds quicker than series leader, Sideris Tasiadis, on 98.07.

Local star Nuria Vilarrubla showed the benefit of local knowledge to qualify fastest in the women’s C1, posting a time of 114.07 with Austria’s Viktoria Wolffhardt second on 114.46.

Fox, chasing a fourth consecutive World Cup, was sixth fastest.

In the men’s C2 Olympic gold medallists, cousins Ladislav and Peter Skantar of Slovakia, picked up six seconds in penalties, the most in the field, to qualify 10th for the semi-finals behind French pair Gauthier Klauss and Matthieu Peche.

The Frenchmen recorded a time of 106.59, ahead of Czech’s Jonas Kaspar and Marek Sindler in 107.45.

Canoe Slalom
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