Prague – Slovenian slalom canoeist Peter Kauzer won the first World Cup race this season in whitewater slalom in Prague on Saturday. After barely qualifying for the final, he then rode the rapids with flying colours to win by almost a second over his rivals.
Kauzer, a silver medallist at the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro did a great job already in the semi-finals in the Czech capital, but just one mistake that left him struggling for quite a while almost cost him a place in the final.
He barely made it to the top 10, but in the final he built on his performance and set a high bar for the remaining nine competitors with a time of 95.54 seconds. No one managed to outpace him, and second place went to Italy’s Giovanni De Gennaro, who was 0.95 seconds behind. Martin Dougoud of Switzerland was third (+1.74).
This is Kauzer’s first win after 2018 when he became the European Champion in the men’s kayak K1 event at the European Canoe Slalom Championships in Prague.
“I’m a bit surprised. I managed a good, clean run, but it wasn’t without mistakes. I’m really happy with my win in Prague,” said the two-time world champion in his first statement after the race.
Kauzer, 38, does not intend to retire just yet, as he would like to compete in the Paris 2024 Summer Olympics.