Czech Ondrej Rolenc has won his third World title and Frenchwomen Claire Haab and Claire Bren their second at the 2017 ICF Wildwater World Championships in Pau, France.

The French men’s C2 pairing of Quentin Dazeur and Stephane Santamaria defended their 2016 title, while Czech pair Anezka Paloudova and Marie Nemcova were surprise winners in the women's C2.

Rolenc had to hold off a challenge from Rio Olympic C1 silver medallist, Slovakia’s Matej Benus, to defend the titles he won in 2016 and 2014.

The final margin was 50.29 to 50.47 under lights at the Pau course.

“It feels crazy, because these days is too long, we are racing in the sunset and it is difficult,” Rolenc said.

“It’s difficult because of the effects of the lights. It’s a difficult race because there was more pressure.”

20170930-03767 pau

Bren won her first K1 wildwater title in 2012, but was back to her best on Saturday with a 51.73 run which put her just ahead of teammate Manon Hostens on 51.91.

“I didn’t know if I could win another World Championship, but it was possible,” Bren said.

“It’s incredible here with the French public. I manage to focus on my run. My heart was racing about 200 while I was waiting for Manon to finish.”

20170930-03826 pau

Haab’s first C1 title came in 2015, but she needed something special to overcome defending World Champion, Czech Martina Satkova, in Saturday’s final.

“I am happy, it was a very good run,” Haab said.

“The crowd was fantastic.”

20170930-03856 pau

It was a French trifecta in the men’s C2, with Dazeur and Santamaria winning by 0.62 seconds from teammates Tony Debray and Louis Lapointe.

“We’d had some difficulties with our last training here, but this week we just felt awesome,”Dazeur said.

“The crowd pushed us a lot, it made me go faster and faster at the end.”

20170930-03796 pau

There was a minor upset in the men’s K1, with Slovenia’s Anze Urankar upstaging teammate Nejc Znidarcic and Frenchmen Gaetan Guyonnet and Paul Graton for the gold.

Just one second covered the first four boats, with Urankar holding on to win by 0.39 of a second.

“I didn’t expect that, but I had a perfect run so I’m really happy about it,” Urankar said.

“I just wanted to make a good run. I didn’t want to think about possibly winning, but I had a good year.”

Slovakia's Barbora Kortisova and Katarina Kopunova looked destined for silver in the women's C2, until Frenchwomen Manon Durand and Cindy Coat ran into trouble at the bottom of the course.

20170930-03899 pau

Wildwater Canoeing