There were a few surprises on a cold opening day of the ICF Canoe Slalom World Cup in Slovakia on Friday, with Slovenia’s Jure Lenarcic and Great Britain’s Bradley Forbes-Cryans upstaging more fancied rivals to top C1 and K1 qualifying, while Australia’s Jessica Fox and Austria’s Corinna Kuhnle live up to form in the women’s events.

Forbes-Cryans finished just 0.18 seconds ahead of Czech world champion, Ondrej Tunka, in the men’s K1. With British teammate and Olympic gold medallist Joseph Clarke third fastest.

“I was definitely feeling up for the challenge today, I just wanted to go out there and try and deliver my best performance,” Forbes-Cryans said.

“I feel like I got pretty close to that. It’s nice to see some rewards in what is an outstandingly difficult class. There’s just so many good boats that are capable of winning these events.”

Great Britain <a href='/webservice/athleteprofile/36513' data-id='36513' target='_blank' class='athlete-link'>Bradley Forbes-Cryans</a> Liptovsky Mikulas

The biggest surprise at the top of qualifying on day one was Slovenia’s Jure Lenarcic, a winner of two team gold medals at U23 level on the Liptovsky Mikulas course, but still chasing his first senior C1 podium finish.

Lenarcic finished ahead of a crack C1 field which included Olympic gold medallists Michel Martikan and Denis Gargaud-Chanut, as well as a host of World and European champions.

There were three Slovakians in the top ten, with world championship silver medallist and local resident, Alexander Slafkovsky, qualifying ninth.

“The first mission is done, it was my plan to be in the top ten,” Slafkovsky said.

“It’s really special, it’s not so often that you get to start in front of the home crowd on the home course. All us Slovak guys are excited to be here and compete at home.”

Austria <a href='/webservice/athleteprofile/35282' data-id='35282' target='_blank' class='athlete-link'>Corinna Kuhnle</a> Liptovsky Mikulas

Corinna Kuhnle followed up her European silver medal earlier this month with a solid qualifying run in the women’s K1, finishing 0.80 seconds ahead of reigning world champion Jessica Fox.

“I lost a little bit in the middle section, but otherwise it was a well composed run,” Kuhnle said.

“The course is tricky but it’s nice. It’s a competition for the best canoeists in the world, so I think it’s good that we have tough courses.

“I had a second in the Europeans, so I guess that’s my motivation to get one spot higher.”

Fox found her way to the top of the leaderboard later in the day, knocking off younger sister Noemie by 1.71 seconds to head into Sunday’s semi-finals as the fastest qualifier.

“You just have to go and do your run, and I was really happy with my race, just really solid and smooth,” Fox said.

“But I’m really happy for Noemie to get a good result in the qualifiers as well.

“It’s nice to get that first run back on the international circuit, so it’s always good to get that out of the way and get a feel for it again.”

Australia <a href='/webservice/athleteprofile/36526' data-id='36526' target='_blank' class='athlete-link'>Jessica Fox</a> C1 Liptovsky Mikulas


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