Anže Berčič won the ICF Ranking race in Solkan.

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The first ICF Slalom ranking race of the season 2013 in Slovenia was traditionally organized in Solkan. The only Slovenian winner of the day was canoeist Anže Berčič, Peter Kauzer and Eva Terčelj finished second and Žnidaršič-Žganjar were third. German paddlers Jasmin Schornberg and Sebastian Schubert dominated women’s and men’s kayak event, Italians Camporesi-Ferrari won the men’s C2 event, while Austrian Julia Schmid won in women’s C1.

The organizers of this year’s slalom race in Solkan experienced some problems. The Saturday’s part of the race was cancelled due to high water level of emerald Soča River, so the race was a bit different than usual. Organizers and participating teams decided to organize two runs and the best result of the two runs then counted for the final score. Women’s canoe event was the first event of the day. Two Austrian paddlers topped this event. Julia Schmid finished the race in first place and Viktoria Wolffhardt finished second. Italian paddler Chiara Sabattini was third. The course was quite difficult and high water level with unusually big waves for course in Solkan caused paddlers numerous problems.

Not only paddlers in women’s C1 category, also others found the race in Solkan quite challenging. Anže Berčič, the winner of men’s canoe event, was among them. “I am very satisfied with today’s race. The competition was hard, but the water was especially hard. I managed to prepare myself for both runs and to maintain my concentration throughout the race,” said Berčič after the competition. Two Italian canoeists Stefano Cipressi, former World Champion in kayak event, and Roberto Colazingari took silver and bronze. Slovenian representative at London Olympics in this category Benjamin Savšek did not start in this race, because he still recovers from pneumonia and besides that he also suffered an injury.

Another interesting race was in men’s kayak event, where German paddler Sebastian Schubert won in front of Peter Kauzer. Two times World Champion Kauzer produced the fastest time of the day but he picked up four penalty seconds which pushed him to second place. “I was quite tired in second run, especially in the lower part of the course. Regarding that Germans have selection races next week and our selection races are a month away this shows I worked hard during the winter,” said Kauzer who plans to start at the following ICF Ranking race next week in Liptovsky Mikulaš (SVK). Italian paddler Omar Raiba finished third.

German paddlers dominated also women’s kayak event. Olympian and former World Champion Jasmin Schornberg finished the race in front of Slovenian Eva Terčelj, while another two German paddlers Lisa Fritsche and Katja Frauenrath finished in third and fourth place. This was one of the first races for Terčelj this season, while her teammates already took part in several other competitions: “I am very satisfied with the today’s race, because I produced two solid runs, although there were some mistakes. I’ve missed few races this year because of study obligations, but I don’t think this is a problem, because there are plenty of races still to come. The season will be long.” Her teammate and the best paddler of last year’s edition of World Cup Urša Kragelj was far less satisfied. She finished seventh. “I was far away with my thoughts today. I just couldn’t focus. I also have some problems with my shoulder and I am tired of all the trainings,” said Kragelj and continued: “The boat is too big for me and causes me some problems. I have to find an arrangement with my manufacturer regarding the size of my boat. I expect to get the new boat before the selection races.”

In absence of one of the best Canadian doubles of this time Slovenians Luka Božič and Sašo Taljat who didn’t start because Luka Božič got sick, two Italian boats finished the race at the top. Olympians Pietro Camporesi and Niccolo Ferrari finished the race almost nine seconds ahead of their compatriots Stefano Cipressi and Andrea Benetti. Young Slovenian crews Peter Žnidaršič – Luka Žganjar and Niko Testen – Jakob Jeklin were third and fourth.

The next ICF Ranking race will take place next weekend in Liptovsky Mikulaš, Slovakia.