Ramalho stands tall in tough World Cup marathon conditions

Portugal’s Jose Ramalho has thrilled the home crowd with a stunning win at the ICF Canoe Marathon World Cup at Viana Do Castelo on Sunday.

And Hungary’s Vanda Kiszli prevailed again in an incredibly close women’s K1 final, with just a handful of seconds separating her and second-placed Spaniard, Eva Barros.

Ramalho emerged unscathed in conditions that claimed many of the top paddlers on Sunday, most succumbing to rough swell which filled their boats with water.

After battling with a front pack that numbered as many as nine athletes at the midway stage, Ramalho made his break on the sixth lap and left what remained of the splintered leading group in his wake.

“This was a really, really hard race,” Ramalho said.

“There were big waves, lots of current – I think that was the deciding factor today. The upper part of the river, it was very hard to turn.

“I knew the group would break up as the race progressed.”

It gave Ramalho a double victory on his home course, after he won the short course marathon on Saturday.

Spain’s Miguel Llorens finished second, with Hungary’s Adrian Boros third.

Also celebrating double gold in Portugal was Kiszli, a K1 5000 winner at last week’s ICF Canoe Sprint World Cup and then triumphing in the K1 short course on Saturday.

But as was the case on Saturday, the K1 winner wasn’t decided until the last metres of the race, with the young Hungarian holding off Barros, with another Hungarian, Zsofia Czellai-Voros taking the bronze.

The men’sC1 was won by Hungary’s Adam Docze, ahead of Portuguese pair Rui Lacerda and Nuno Barros, while Ukraine’s Liudmyla Babak took the C1 gold, finishing seven minutes ahead of Spain’s Maria Ramal, with Russia’s Ksenia Bezrodnikh third.

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