This year, the EC R6 Italy, was held in the same place as last year, the beautiful valley of the castles called the Aosta Valley, on the beautiful Dora Baltea river. Slalom was on the part of the Dora called the Ivrea artificial course. Since the competition began with the Slalom our report begins from there.
The day was sunny and delightful, 12 teams from 4 countries took part – 7 ITA, 3 CZE, 1 SVK and the wonderful surprise of the GBR U23 Women’s team. As there was only one Open Women’s team, from Italy, they competed in the Open Men’s category. And there were two team’s in the U23 Women’s category.
Although the teams had time to train before the race, when the organisers started to set the course it immediately became obvious that the course would be quite difficult. The beautiful and technically challenging course of Ivrea was a demanding Slalom course, especially on the lucky red gate of 13. Red gates 2, 3, 9, 10, 14 were not so demanding, but that 13 …. you can see for yourself.
Swimming season was open in the first run. Falling out, losing paddles, flipping …. Hance (CZE) were the best in this, Valbrenta (ITA) second, while third was Hodonin (CZE). U23 Women is was Students (GBR) first and DRD4 ITA second.
Sprint passed rather smoothly and the order was: 1.Tigerle (ITA), 2.Valbrenta (ITA), 3 Jiskra Havlickuv Brod (CZE); U23W: 1.DRD4 (ITA) and 2. Students (GBR). The water dropped between the two races. The distance between the starting rafts in the H2H from the left bank of the river gave us a great fight. I have not seen such a powerful start to the H2H as in Tigerle OM (ITA) team’s start. The result for the H2H for the men was the same as for the Sprint, and for the U23 Women it was reversed.
What was interesting after the competition day was the excellent party that evening which saw injuries due to the dancing – a knee injury, two ankle injuries …. crazy! This party compared well to that in Wildalpen. Somehow the party ended at the same time when it started to rain and thunder … all night entertainment program in Villanueva.
The last day was left for the Downriver. I had the opportunity this time to go on the Downriver part of the Dora Baltea and I can say that it is amongst the top three best sections of Downriver this year in the EC series. When we add to this a great Slalom course, this is one of the best EC competitions.
The CZE teams used all possible opportunities to paddle the Dora Baltea river, and even the upper section of the Dora Canyon that even local guides do not raft at certain water levels. Flipping on that section means “swimming” through the entire canyon.
So Hanace (CZE) was the best in the Downriver, while Tigerle (ITA) was second and third was Valbrenta (ITA) and this was the same order for Overall. For U23 Women Students (GBR) claimed victory and also won a Overall, and the DRD4 were second in the Downriver and overall.
During the Downriver race, I was just at the place where one team flipped. They had already succeeded in losing one member somewhere higher up on the river which caused some confusion during the rescue. Dora is not for beginners so keep that in your mind when you arrive. On the way back to the club our dear safety kayakers saw a situation on a commercial trip where a raft was stuck on a rock and they jumped in to help the tourists …. well done guys!
But behind this wonderful EC stand the organisers. It was an excellently organised competition, so we want to thank the Italian Rafting Federation: Danilo Barmaz, (President), Stefano Pellin (Event Director) and Anna Aiachini (Secretary), all the judges, volunteers and everyone! Also thank you for the accommodation in the beautiful Des Roses Hotel and for the camp and the temporary office at Rafting Aventure Villeneuve, and office colleague Alessia P.
See you next year!
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