David Florence vowed to bounce back stronger and haul himself on to the World Championship podium after a tough day for the British boats at the ICF World Cup Final in Pau.
Florence, a three-time Olympic silver medallist, was unable to keep his chances of overall glory alive as he hit three gates in his C1 semi-final run to dash his hopes of progression.
He scooped silver medals at this season’s World Cup events in Prague and La Seu but after heading into this weekend’s double points showpiece in second, dropped out of contention as a 23rd-place finish left him eighth in the overall standings.
Florence rued a difficult day in the French water but believes he has what it takes to claim a 12th World Championship medal when he descends on the event in Bratislava later this month.
The 39-year-old, who clocked a time of 111.08s on Sunday, said: “I’m pretty disappointed. The run certainly wasn’t anything special, but it was absolutely fine until those last few gates, and it just suddenly really got away from me and went disastrously wrong.
“But it’s still been a reasonable season – I’ve picked up two medals and my pace in general seems good. It’s no great cause for concern going into the Worlds.
“I feel like I’m paddling very well on the whole – every single World Cup or World Championship medal is so hard-fought and to get it just right at the right time, you need everything to come together for you.
“I’m disappointed to throw it away today but to come away with two Worlds Cup medals this season is still very good.
“It comes down to getting it right on the day – and if I can do that, I’ve got a chance of getting on the [World Championship] podium, as my good runs have shown so far this year.
“It’s now just about the last little bit of preparation – I feel ready for it and I’m looking forward to getting on the start line again.”
James Kettle and Peter Linksted were also unable to advance to the final as they finished 26th and 28th – both less than four seconds behind Florence – in the semi-final.
Elsewhere on Sunday, fellow Brit Bethan Forrow insists she couldn’t be prouder of her season after finishing 19th in her C1 semi-final with a time of 127.69s.
Forrow, 20, had successfully navigated her way through Friday’s heats to pick up where she left off in La Seu – where she finished eighth – but early touches on gates 3, 4 and 5 saw her World Cup hopes come to an end.
“Obviously it’s disappointing – I know there was so much more that I could have shown,” she said.
“But with the last three races, it’s still good to be able to see that the pace is there and I’m moving in the right direction.
“Going into heats and semi-finals is amazing at senior level. I’m taking it one run at a time, trying to show what I’m capable of and hopefully end the year on a high.”
In Sunday afternoon’s Extreme Slalom events, Nikita Setchell was the sole British hope to battle through to the quarter-finals.
Fiona Pennie, a 2019 K1 world team champion, and Amber Maslen both received faults in their heats but Setchell, the reigning Extreme under 23 World champion, marched through with an impressive display in the action-packed event.
But she struggled to hold off Lucie Nesnidalova and Jessica Fox with a semi-final spot looming as she a received a fault on the upstream section when attempting to reel the pair in.
Setchell said: “It’s a bit gutting – I’m happy with my starts and getting away, but I just need to work on my contact with other athletes and how to get out of that.
“[Lucie and Jessica] are both really good athletes and tough competitors in the Extreme Slalom, so it’s just about getting a bit more experience on the circuit, which will stand me in good stead.
“I don’t really have too many expectations [looking forward] – it’s still my first year doing Extreme Slalom.
“I’m just trying to gain as much experience as possible and hopefully make it out of the time trials at future events.”
In the men’s event, Chris Bowers and Jake Brown also went out in the heats to bring an end to the British boats’ involvement on Sunday.
Bowers and Brown had both progressed in the time trial 24 hours earlier – ahead of Ben Haylett and Joe Clarke – but were unable to end their Extreme Slalom seasons on a high.
Pennie, who banked a silver medal in the first World Cup event of the year in Prague, finished ninth in the overall women’s standings while Clarke, the 2016 Rio Olympic K1 champion, finished fourth in the men’s competition.