R6 sprint & H2H racing from the 2012 European Champs

Photos Jan Homolka

Day 3 of the European Championships saw just as much excitement as the previous day with the R6 sprint and H2H taking place. Unfortunately the weather did not seem to want to play game after a thunderstorm yesterday evening the day started with grey skies and steady rain most of the day. But this did not seem to deter the team racing as they were all fired up to try and get the fastest time down the Sprint course in order to give them a good position for the H2H start.

As in the R4 the Czech teams demonstrated their skill and experience securing gold medals in both the men and women categories and a further bronze in the women’s. With less than a second between the top 3 men’s teams it was defiantly a close race, but Germany 1 started off the day well with a silver medal and Italy 1 achieving a bronze.

Photos Jan Homolka

The eastern European teams seemed to dominate the women’s sprint; in fact they dominated the whole days racing. Slovakia secured silver in the sprint after a successful day in the R4 yesterday followed by Russia with Bronze. In fact the fastest time in the women’s set by Czech 2 would have beaten some of the men’s times; way to go Czech ladies!!!

As yesterday the teams for the H2h had to be filtered down to find the top 16 men’s teams and the top 8 women’s teams. In the men’s the top 10 teams automatically qualified through leaving the remaining 14 teams to secure one of 6 places. With less teams in the women’s category only the top 4 team automatically qualified leaving the remaining teams to fight for one of 4 places in the quarterfinals.

Montenegro put up a good fight against Russia 2 to secure a place in the top 16. They looked ecstatic to have achieved this win, unfortunately the next round would be one harder facing one of the top 10 teams. Generally the team who had the fastest time in the sprint made it through to the top 16. As the fastest time chose the lane it seemed the right hand side was the one to choose, but this did not stop Germany 2 demonstrating their power in the following round to overtake Hungary from the left qualifying for a place in the Quarterfinals.  They proceeded to beat all odds by again in the quarters getting ahead from the left off the start line, but it was not to be as a protest by Italy saw Germany 2 get a 10 second penalty meaning Italy got a place in the semi finals ahead of Germany 2. But all was not lost for the German teams with Germany 1 storming every race finding them selves a place in the final race.

Photos Jan Homolka

The GB men’s team were also looking very strong making it through to the semi finals along with Slovenia 1.  Both Czech men’s teams and the fastest placing team in the sprint found themselves knocked out in the quarterfinals after starting their races on the lesser preferred left side of the river. So this left GB and Italy to battle out for bronze and Germany 1 and Slovenia to battle out for gold and silver. Both races were so close but the Germans who did not look as if they had tired at all after 4 races still looked strong to dominate and become the 2012 R6 European champions with Slovenia in second Italy in third and GB just missing the medals in 4th.

Again the first round of the H2H the women’s teams with the fastest time in the sprint secured their place in the quarterfinals, which meant possibly facing one of the 4 fastest teams. This meant the team qualifying in 5th place would face the sprint champions in the quarters. This job was left to team GB who has previously been world champions in the H2H in 2009. But is was not to be for the Brits as the Czech team demonstrated their power and after an initial fight made it across the finish line first. Each of the 4 fastest teams from the time trial who automatically went through the first round proceeded to knock out their opponent for a place in the semi finals.  So would we find the top 4 women’s teams in the same position as the sprint result? In fact that is exactly how it ended with Czech 2 and Slovakia 1 fighting for gold and silver and Czech 1 and Russia 1 looking for that bronze medal. After a great fight at the start of the race Czech 2 pulled through to secure their second gold of the day followed by Slovakia in Second, Czech 1 in third and Russia missing out on a medal for the second time in the day finishing in 4th.

So two races down and two more to go, but the overall ranking could all still change with the higher scoring races still to come. Take a look at the overall results so far to see how the teams are faring, and well done to all the medallist of the R6 sprint and H2H.

Men: Sprint H2H Overall so far

Women: Sprint H2H Overall so far

Article: Naomi James

Photos Jan Homolka Photography