Published on June 24th, 2022 | by Paddleworld
Italian Giovanni De Gennaro completed an extraordinary hat-trick of canoe slalom results by qualifying fastest in the men’s K1 at the ICF world cup in Tacen, Ljubljana, on Friday.
Germany’s Elena Lilik bounced back after sitting out last weekend because of Covid protocols to post the quickest time in the women’s K1, German teammate Sideris Tasiadis was fastest in the men’s C1, and Jessica Fox was quickest in the women’s C1 as she chases her first world cup gold for this season in her Olympic title event.
De Gennaro has now produced the fastest time on opening day at all three ICF world cups this season, but is yet to translate this form into a gold medal. His best result was a silver medal behind Slovenia’s Peter Kauzer in Prague.
On Friday he was more than one second quicker than Czech Tokyo Olympic gold medalist, Jiri Prskavec.
“I wish I could do the same during the semis and the finals, but I’m happy with my paddling and I need to put this into semi-finals and finals so that I can hopefully get a medal and a good result,” De Gennaro said.
“I like this course, we’ve been here for so long and I think it is one of my favourites because you have to go with the water, and the fact we have been here so long we’ve learned a lot of moves, which is helping me race here.”
Great Britain’s Kimberley Woods has had a frustrating 2022, but showed glimpses of her best form by posting the second fastest qualifying times in both the K1 and the C1.
“I haven’t really got quite the run of things, and its finding the balance between trusting my speed and not keeping it too safe, so hopefully I’m on my way up to the world championships,” Woods said.
“It’s the last world cup of the three-week series and I just want to enjoy it, because I’m kind of ready to go home. It’s a beautiful place, and a very wiggly course – my first race with eight upstreams, so I’m happy to get it down with just the one touch.”
Tacen is the course where Jessica Fox made history in 2013 by becoming the first athlete to win a K1 and C1 gold medal at the same event. On Friday the Australian was sixth fastest in the K1, and quickest in her Olympic gold medal event, the C1, where she is yet to land a world cup gold this season.
“I’m almost there each race, I’m getting a little bit closer to that good run that I’m searching for” Fox said.
“You never know in Tacen, you’ve got to be adaptable, I enjoy racing here, I love the start, I love that drop, you’re always more nervous here than any other whitewater course.”
Sideris Tasiadis has spent this year training on his home course of Augsburg, preparing for this year’s world championships which will also mark 50 years since canoe slalom made its Olympic debut at the very same venue.
He posted the fastest qualifying time in the men’s C1 on Friday, but is already thinking ahead to next month’s titles.
“Up to now my preparation has been very good,” Tasiadis said.
“I think it will be such an important event for our sport, because this was where the history began for canoe slalom, and now 50 years on, it will be such an important event for us in Germany as well.”
Saturday will see finals in men’s and women’s K1 and the time trials for extreme kayak.