The 2nd stop of the EuroTour presented by Rogue took place in Namur, Belgium from May 12-13th. In its eight edition, one of the original events from the EuroTour, the Happy Summer Namur SUP Race saw record participation with 61 riders on the water and its biggest competitive field.
Competitors from 12 countries including Latvia, Canada, Brazil, Czech Republic,and all over Europe had the best weather in the 8 years of the event’s existence with summer temperatures and clear skies.
The competition started on Saturday afternoon with the Main Race, using their classical course route around the river in the middle of the city. With a central location and fabulous weather there was lots of spectators present to watch the race. Due to such large entry numbers the start of the race was staggered between the Elite Men & a second group with of Elite Women and the Amateurs to ensure everyone had a great race. As all the competitors know the river is never flat and currents and river knowledge played a key role in all 3 laps around the city course. Susak Molinero (RRD/QB) and Paul Ganse from Germany claimed the overall wins.
The Women’s race saw a very competitive field that formed a lead group from the start of what eventually would produce the Top 5 placings. Ella Oesterholt (Starboard) from The Netherlands was a new face on tour that surprised a few people by sticking with the lead group the entire race and finally finishing 4th in a very tight sprint for the podium. Germany’s Susanne Lier (F-One/QB) was also on the lead group for the majority of the race to finish a solid 5th. In a similar fashion as last week’s event Petronella Van Malsen and Emma Reijmerink (Fanatic) didn’t disappoint by claiming 2nd and 3rd respectively after a very close sprint to the finishing line.
Last weekend’s champion, Spain’s turned Italian resident Susak Molinero (RRD/QB) broke the group in the last lap to claim a comfortable victory and assert her early ratings dominance.
In the Men’s race – they had their strongest competitive field present at the Namur SUP Race resulting in a very tight and hard fought battle that came down to a frantic sprint after the last bridge. Brazil’s biggest star Vinnicius Martins wanted redemption from last week and came storming out of the gates to claim an early lead, he was with the lead group the entire race to settle for a solid 12thplace. In front of him Paolo Marconi (RRD/QB) in 11th place also looked very strong.
One of the new athletes on the tour and a quick standout Yannis Maire (F-One) was in the Top5 group the entire race and showed that last weekend was no fluke by finishing in the coveted Top10. Outsprinting Yannis to the line and one of the pace seaters for the majority of the race was Italy’s Federico Esposito (QB). The biggest name in The Netherlands, Joep Van Bakel (Fanatic) always excels in this race and came in at an impressive 8th.
One of the first surprises of the day came with Italy’s Filippo Mercuriali (Starboard) that finished 7thin his best EuroTour performance to date. Another early leader and pace setter for the race (also 2nd place finisher last year) was Italy’s Martino Rogai (Starboard) claiming 6th place overall. The winningest athlete on the EuroTour’s history Leo Nika (Starboard) look good all race and closed the podium in 5th place. Our winner from last weekend Arthur Arutkin (Fanatic) looked like a shoe-in for the win again until the last bridge where the strategy from a few of the competitors of utilizing the race course where there was least current paid off dividends.
Leading the chasing group was river specialist and race veteran Germany’s Norman Weber. On the last lap Norman made a frantic push from behind to go away from the current despite covering more ground with Latvia’s canoe specialist Arvis Iljins, and the biggest German up an comer talent Paul Ganse. By the time the group got to the last bridge all Top15 guys were together and we had one of the most epic sprint finishes to the line in the tour’s history.
Once the dust settled Arthur Arutkin (Fanatic) was the only one able to keep up with the river specialists and came in 4th place showing no signs of slowing down this season. Norman Weber finished 3rd place in a very close sprint that saw 200m sprint specialist Arvis Iljins from Latvia claimed his biggest competitive result in his career and finish 2nd.
There was one man that was fully determined to win that was Paul Ganse from Germany.Perhaps it was the fact that he spent the entire week camped at the event site assessing & understanding the conditions, or the fact that in his own words that once he saw the opportunity in the last sprint he gave it all, put his head down and never looked back to claim the biggest win of his career.
Results Summer Namur SUP Race
Vídeo Summer Namur SUP Race