Event: Hostens Makes it Three While Rolenc Bows Out With Gold at Wildwater Titles
France’s Manon Hostens won her third gold medal of the weekend, teammate Quentin Bonnetain won his first, and Czech Ondrej Rolenc announced his retirement after successfully defending his C1 title on the penultimate day of competition at the ICF wildwater worldchampionships in Treignac, France.
Italy’s Cecilia Panato justified her decision to sit out the women’s K1 to focus on the canoe event, taking her first classic world crown, while the French duo of Stephane Santamaria and Quentin Dazeur won their second C2 gold for the weekend.
Hostens added the women’s K1 classic to the K1 sprint and K1 sprint teams gold she won on Saturday on the scenic river course, making good on a promise to end on a high before stepping away from wildwater to concentrate on Paris Olympic preparations.
It was the second classic world title for Hostens afrer she also won in 2016.
“I love so much this river, and I really wanted a big race, and I think I did it,” Hostens said.
“It was amazing for me, I know the river so I had a very good line. It’s been six years, so I wanted to make it special.”
Rolenc looked in extreme doubt for this weekend’s world titles after battling illness, but was able to put together a solid race to defend the C1 classic title he won back in 2018.
After the race an emotional Rolenc announced he would retire from international racing.
“The last week has been really hard for me, I was sick and my racing wasn’t going well,” Rolenc said.
“This was the hardest win in my career. I still love wildwater, but I feel older, the youngest are coming, so maybe now I say thankyou very much and goodbye.
“I feel it’s time to leave while I’m on the top. I hate when I lose, so I would like to say to everyone who loves this sport, thankyou so much for everything you’ve given me.”
Quentin Bonnetain and German Olympic champion Max Hoff were the first two paddlers on the six kilometre men’s K1 classic course, and had to watch on as the remainder of the field tried to better their times.
Eventually only Frenchman Mazence Barouh, the final paddler on the course, could go close, finishing just 0.36 of a second behind his French teammate to hand Bonnetain his first ICF wildwater classic world title.
Bonnetain won wildwater sprint gold in 2014, and said he had been waiting a long time to win the classic distance.
“I am very happy to win today because this is a fabulous legendary river,” Bonnetain said.
“My objective was to win the classic, so my dream has come true. It was very difficult to wait, because I thought my time was nice, but not very very nice, so I was nervous.”
In women’s C1 it was Cecilia Panato who went one better than four years ago to win her first classic world title, edging out Czech C1 sprint champion Marie Nemcova, with France’s Laura Fontaine taking the bronze.
And Frenchmen Stephane Santamaria and Quentin Dazeur successfully defended their 2018 C2 classic title, and added to the gold they won on Saturday in the men’s C2 sprint final.
The ICF wildwater canoe world championships conclude on Monday with the team’s classic races.