Fox continues unbeaten C1 run at Pyrenees Cup
16 April 2019
PADDLE: Australia’s Canoe Slalom Olympians set an early mark ahead of the 2019 World Cup and Olympic qualification season with dual Olympic medallist and reigning C1 World Champion and 2018 World Cup winner Jessica Fox continuing her record-breaking unbeaten run in the women’ C1, while Rio Olympian Lucien Delfour finished second in the men’s K1 at the Pyrenees Cup in Spain over the weekend.
Tasmanian Daniel Watkins also made the top ten men’s K1 final with Australia’s slalom paddlers presenting themselves in great form ahead of an action-packed season which will include qualification for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
The Pyrenees Cup included a two-weekend race series in Pau, France (5-7 April) as well as in La Seu, Spain (12-14 April) and gave an early taste of what’s to come in 2019.
Most successful canoe slalom paddler of all time, Fox began the 2019 European canoe slalom season where she left 2018, with a strong win in the women’s C1.
Dual-Olympian, Fox, only contested the La Seu part of the event series and won the women’s C1 in a strong time of 104.60 and despite a two-second penalty on the course that will host the 2019 ICF Canoe Slalom World Championships in September. Austria’s Viktoria Wolffhardt finished second on 107.55.
In the women’s K1, Fox was a notable absentee from the final after setting the fastest time, but picking up a 50-second penalty in the semi-final. In the absence of the reigning world champion, France’s Camille Prigent claimed victory ahead of Rio Olympic gold medallist Maialen Chourraut in second.
“I was happy with my racing, there was a tough judging call on my K1 where I got a 50 second penalty on gate two in the semi-final which kept me out of the final, but overall I was quite happy with that run, and it remained the fastest time of the K1W race. I finished off well in the C1 to take the win and it’s always nice to start the European season that way,” Fox said.
The win continues the 24-year-old's unbeaten run in the boat class she won five World Cups including the overall World Cup as well as World Championships gold last year.
Rio Olympian Lucien Delfour also had a strong start to the European season and finished second in La Seu in a time of 86.00, one second behind Rio Olympic bronze medallist Jiri Prskavec (CZE). France’s Mathurin Madore finished third in 86.43.
Both Delfour as well as Daniel Watkins also raced the first event of the Pyrenes Cup series at Pau, France last week, where Delfour was the fastest man on the course, but 54 seconds in penalties cost him dearly and pushed him back to 10th(144.78, +52.90). With a tenth and a second place, Delfour finished the overall cup ranking in third.
Watkins finished 18thoverall after an eighth place in La Seu and a 39thplace in Pau. Watkins also raced the men’s C1 on both weekends finishing 22nd and 21st respectively and 15th on the overall Cup standings.
Australia’s paddlers will return home for a few weeks before the whole World Cup Team travels back to Europe at the beginning of June for the opening ICF Canoe Slalom World Cup for 2019 on the London 2012 Olympic course in Lee Valley, England (14-16 June 2019).