The sprint races at the very demanding whitewater course at Valtellina concluded over the weekend with all of the Australian team in action.
Rob McIntyre continued his good form making yet another World Cup final in the men's K1 and finishing 9th. The 20 year old showed great maturity in his paddling in trying conditions and was extremely consistent in his runs. After his first qualifyer he was in 11th position with a time of 1:30.89. Our other Australian men's paddlers Tom Mountney and Alex McIntyre finished 27th and 29th in the qualifying rounds with times of 1:34.08 and 1:35.62 respectively.
In the final Robert put down an improved time of 1:29.15 with a big brace two thirds of the way down the course costing him time. He was however still delighted with his personal best result for a World Cup event.
In the women's K1 Maddie Batters and Kristy Packham finished just outside the final 12 with Maddie placing 14th with a time of 1:48.66 and Kristy with a time of 2:02.62 in 16th. The winner in the final was Sabine Fuesser from Germany with a time of 1:35.79. Manon Hostens from France took the silver medal (1:36.96) and Manuela Stoeberl from Germany took the bronze medal (1:37.59.)
Australian Canoeing asked Kristy for her thoughts on her trip so far:
To come to Europe and race wildwater is such an experience compared to racing in Australia. The Europeans love their wildwater and their passion for the sport is contagious.
Obviously it is great to get some good results finishing 21st at the world sprint champs, 8th at Banja luka rapid sprint and 9th for the classic. It is also about developing skills for the future and hopefully in a few years earning a podium finish. The last World Cup in Valtellina is certainly a huge progression from the calmer waters of the river Verbas in Banja Luka and will certainly tested our skill level.
The experienced gained over past three weeks is invaluable and friendships have been formed for life.”
In Valtellina the eventual winner of the men’s K1 was Paul Graton from France in an extremely fast time of 1:24.96, followed by Nejc Znidarcic from Slovenia in second place (1:26.60) and the young Italian paddler Pierpaolo Bonato rounding out third place, much to the delight of the local crowd in a time of 1:27.36. The fastest qualifier Gerhard Schmid was relegated to 10th position in the final with a time of 1:29.34 showing that the difficulty of the course made every run a new proposition.
In the men's C1 the Norman Weber from Germany continued his good form by taking the Gold with a time of 1.32.64 with the silver and bronze medals going to the Frenchmen Louis Lapointe and Guillaume Alzingre respectively.
The women's C1 was won by Marjolaine Hecquet from France with team mate Julie Paoletti from France taking second and Mariene Ricciardi from Italy third.
The men's C2 saw the French team of the Guyonnet brothers take Gold with Rolenc and Suchanek from the Czech Republic taking Silver and Znidarsic and Zganjar from Slovenia taking bronze.
In the classic race held on Sunday Rob McIntyre finished in 16th place (8:54.57), Alex McIntyre was 27th (9:09.74) and Tom Mountney finished 29th (9:14.52.) The winner was Remi Pete of France in a time of 8:28.33.
In the K1 women Maddie Batters took 13th place (9:57.63) and Kristy Packham finished in 16th (10:53.37) behind French Manon Hostens who won with a time of 9:2.93)
The final World Cup marks the end of the tour for the senior paddlers, while the juniors will soon be competing at the Junior World Championships in Lofer, Austria.