The first Slalom World Cup of the 2008 season concluded today in Prague, CZE giving the 13 athletes on the National Team their first opportunity to race the Worlds best as we move ever closer to the Beijing Olympic Games. Complete results analysis are available here
The C1 competition was an exciting one for Team USA as 19 year old Benn Fraker finished 5th. Paddling very close to the gates, he raced extremely well with two clean runs to mix it up with World Champions and Olympic medalist in a tightly contested final. Another outstanding results for a young talented athlete. Tad Dennis also paddled well to a 17th place finish with Jeff Larimer ending up in 47th. The competition was won by Estanguet (FRA), then Bell (AUS) and Florence (GBR).
In K1W, Team USA was led by 16 year old Caroline Queen who laid down near flawless runs to finish 19th. A great results for this talented young women. Right on her heels was Heather Corrie in 31st place and representing the USA internationally for the first time. Team USA's women's field was wrapped up with Zuzana Vanha in 32nd who will have plenty more opportunities to show her slalom skills in the coming World Cups. The women's competition was won by Hilgertova (CZE), followed by Planert (GER) and Dukatova (SVK) who all went in to the final seperated by less than one second.
Brett Heyl raced famously all weekend long in a stacked K1 field with a great deal at stake for many international athletes. Brett had two fantastic runs to place 4th in this highly contested flagship event. Despite having a great day of racing, Scott Mann went out in the semi final to finish in 26th place. Scott Parsons finished in 46th place. The K1 competition was won by Lefevre (FRA), Pfannmoller (GER), then Kubrican (CZE).
The C2's of Crane/McCleskey and Eichfeld/Powell finished 25th and 28th respectively in a tightly contested heat. The competition was won by Jiras/Mader (CZE), Hu/Shu (CHN) and then Forgit/Braud (FRA).
A smaller team will now head to the next World Cup in Tacen, SLO for World Cup #2 while everyone else heads towards Augsburg, GER to prepare for World Cup #3 which doubles as the final selection event for the USA Olympic Team.