Kiwi kayakers back after break

Luuka Jones has made a breakthrough in the C1 division on the ICF World Cup series this year. Photo by Jamie Troughton/Dscribe Media


After a two-month hiatus, New Zealand’s best canoe slalom paddlers are back in action this week, at the fourth ICF World Cup in Ivrea, Italy.
Olympic K1 silver medalist Luuka Jones will be looking to build on her last result at that level; a fourth-placed finish in the Augsburg round in Germany paddling her C1 boat.
It’s the first time Jones has raced at the Ivrea course, where she’ll race both K1 and C1 classes, as will teammate Jane Nicholas, with Courtney Williams joining them in the K1 division.
Shaun Higgins and Ben Gibb will compete in the C1 men’s heats, with Mike Dawson, Callum Gibb and Finn Butcher entered in the K1. Dawson and Butcher will also race the new four-boat extreme slalom, with Dawson already picking up gold and bronze medals this season.
Series leaders Ricarda Funk heads into Ivrea as the form paddler in women’s K1, having dominated the last two World Cups with big wins in Augsburg and Markkleeberg, but can expect strong challenges from a field that includes Olympic silver and bronze medallists Jones and Australia’s Jess Fox.
Fellow German Sebastian Schubert has been rewarded for consistency this season. Although he is yet to win a World Cup, he finished second in Markkleeberg, third in Prague and fourth in Augsburg.
He can expect a strong challenge from leading local hope, Giovanni De Gennaro, a winner at Ivrea previously and gold medallist from Markkleeberg this year, and from Czech Vit Prindis, who won the opening two World Cups in Prague and Augsburg but failed to make the final in Markkleeberg.
and Sideris Tasiadis (all from Germany) will lead will be out to defend their series leads when the 2017 ICF Canoe Slalom World Cup program heads to Ivrea, Italy, this coming weekend.
Germany’s Marek Tasiadis won the opening World Cup gold in the C1 in Prague, and followed up with seconds in Augsburg and Markkleeberg to take a stranglehold on the competition, but will have to stare down challenges from Slovakian pair Michal Martikan and Matej Benus, winners in Markkleeberg and Augsburg respectively.
After missing the C1 final in Prague because of a missed gate penalty, Fox has bounced back to claim victory at both Augsburg and Markkleeberg, and with the absence of Great Britian pair Mallory Franklin and Kimberley Woods this weekend, will see a chance to tighten her grip on the standings.
The Ivrea round, which starts on Friday, is followed next week by the World Cup final in La Seu d’Urgell, Spain, ahead of next month’s world championships in France.

NZ team:
C1: Jane Nicholas, Luuka Jones
K1: Courtney Williams, Jane Nicholas, Luuka Jones
K1: Finn Butcher, Callum Gilbert, Mike Dawson
C1: Shaun Higgins, Ben Gibb,



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