The third and final stage of the 2010 Rowing World Cup began this morning, Friday 9 July at 8 a.m. at the Rotsee in Lucerne, Switzerland.
This is the last chance for national teams to test their speed against other countries before preparation begins for this year's World Rowing Championships at the later time of the end of October in Karapiro, New Zealand. A record 54 countries are present in Lucerne for a huge 900-strong field of athletes will be racing over three days of heats, repechages, semi-finals with finals set for Sunday 11 July.
Women's Pair (W2-)
- Rebecca Scown and Juliette Haigh (NZL) burst onto the scene last month at Rowing World Cup II and absolutely dominated.
- Winners in Bled, the Canadians are back. How will Krista Guloien and Ahsley Brzozowicz fare against the New Zealanders?
- After winning silver and bronze already in Bled and Munich, Chinese twins Meng and Tong Li will be aiming to medal again.
Men's Pair (M2-)
- Hamish Bond and Eric Murray (NZL) have not lost a race since moving into the pair in 2009.
- New Zealand's top challengers, Peter Reed and Andrew Triggs Hodge from Great Britain, have so far been unable to overtake the Kiwis and losing again against Bond and Murray at the Henley Royal Regatta last weekend could mean Lucerne is Reed's and Hodge's last chance to prove themselves.
Women's Double Sculls (W2x)
- Anna Watkins and Katherine Grainger (GBR) won gold at both World Cups this season. Watkins and Grainger will also race in the women's quadruple sculls.
- Sisters Jitka and Lenka Antosova (CZE) closed the gap on Watkins and Grainger in Munich, winning silver, and will keep the British under pressure.
- Stephanie Schiller (GER) stroked the women's quad to gold in Munich. Now racing in the double with Annekatrin Thiele, this combination will be strong in Lucerne.
- Australia's Kim Crow and Sally Kehoe both raced last month in the A-final of the women's single last month in Munich and are joining forces in Lucerne.
Men's Double Sculls (M2x)
- In Lucerne, 2009 World Champions Eric Knittel and Stephan Krueger (GER) will race for the first time internationally this season. Knittel has just recently recovered from injury.
- Matthew Wells and Marcus Bateman (GBR) have been undefeated this season at the World Cup, but were beaten by France's Cedric Berrest and Julien Bahain at the Henley Royal Regatta last weekend.
Men's Four (M4-)
- Great Britain has owned this event in recent years, but were beaten by the USA and Australia last month in Munich.
- The Canadians come with a new line-up after two of the team finished third in Bled. 2008 Olympic medallists Dave Calder joins the boat after a post-Beijing break along with Will Crothers.
Lightweight Women's Double Sculls (LW2x)
- British lightweights Hester Goodsell and Sophie Hosking are the leading boat this season.
- China's Jing Liu and Wenyi Huang will put the pressure on the British and aim for another World Cup medal.
- Canada is coming with a new combination of Katya Herman and Tracy Cameron. Olympic bronze medallist Cameron is back after a post-Olympic break and 37-year-old Herman made her first Canadian team last year.
Lightweight Men's Double Sculls (LM2x)
- Winners from the first stage of the Rowing World Cup in Bled are back: Douglas Vandor and Cameron Sylvester (CAN) were not in Munich and will now be facing the top lightweight double crews who raced at the second stage of the Rowing World Cup, reigning Olympic Champions Great Britain and reigning World Champions New Zealand.
Lightweight Men's Four (LM4-)
- Denmark and Great Britain are taking turns at winning this season and go to Lucerne with one win each.
- The Czechs won bronze in Munich and could be knocking on the door of the British- Danish lead.
- Italy regularly put together a fast lightweight four. Their crew for Lucerne finished with bronze at Rowing World Cup I.
Women's Quadruple Sculls (W4x)
- In Munich, Germany convincingly overhauled winners of Rowing World Cup I, Great Britain. For Lucerne, the Germans have changed their stroke, with Julia Richter coming from the double. The British retain their line-up with all four members racing in the double as well.
- China are the reigning Olympic Champions and Ukraine the reigning World Champions, but both boats have had crew changes and neither has struck gold yet this season.
- The United States line-up includes two members of last year's world silver medal crew.
Men's Quadruple Sculls (M4x)
- All still under-23 rowers, the Croatian crew come to Lucerne unbeaten this season while Olympic and World Champions Poland look to be off the pace and line-up changes may be on the horizon.
- The Italian crew could be the combination to bring Italy back to the Olympic Champion glory days of Sydney 2000.
Women's Eight (W8+)
- Reigning World Champions, the United States race for the first time this season. More than half the crew has changed and four will also race in the women's pair.
- The British raced at both World Cups and from the two have earned a silver and gold medal.
- The Canadians race for the first time at a Rowing World Cup this season and come from a win at Henley.
Women's Single Sculls (W1x)
- Ekaterina Karsten-Khodotovitch (BLR) is number one on the current list of Top 10 female rowers. She owns the last four World Championship titles and since 1996 has always made it to the Olympic medals podium in her single.
- The Czech Republic's Mirka Knapkova is Karsten's nearest challenger.
- Emma Twigg (NZL) is out due to illness.
- Other medal contenders include Julia Levina (RUS) and Jingli Duan (CHN).
Men's Single Sculls (M1x)
- Ondrej Synek (CZE) comes to Lucerne unbeaten and on the back of a bonus win at the Dutch Koninklijke Holland Beker regatta.
- World Champion Mahe Drysdale (NZL) comes back from injury to show his form for the first time this year at Lucerne. Drysdale won against Swedish Lassi Karonen at Henley last weekend.
- Double Olympic Champion Olaf Tufte of Norway always improves as the season progresses, and will aim to do just as well as his bronze in Munich.
Men's Eight (M8+)
- Current World Champions Germany are back and after winning at Rowing World Cup II last month look to be the team to beat.
- China and Great Britain will not give up without a fight. China took silver in Munich ahead of Great Britain.
- Perennial rivals the United States and Canada arrive for the first time this season. They are both boating new crews from their 2009 line-ups.
- Sitting in the Australian boat are the four men that won the men's four at Munich.
Check for the latest schedule and follow the racing live on www.worldrowing.com thanks to the Live Race Viewer. The event finals will be video streamed live on Sunday 11 July and can be accessed through the www.worldrowing.com website.
The Rowing World Cup series was launched in 1997, and includes all 14 Olympic boat classes. The overall Rowing World Cup winners are determined after a series of three regattas. Germany has dominated the series since its beginning ten years ago, with Great Britain upsetting the usual trend by finishing 68 points ahead of Germany in 2009. This year, the three stages of the series are held in Bled, Slovenia (27-30 May), Munich, Germany (18-20 June); and the final in Lucerne, Switzerland (9-11 July).