World Cup 2 – Review

How I wish I’d been able to go to Aiguebelette to watch the World Cup regatta. It looked a fantastic venue with some quite superb racing.

Here’s my take on the racing and how I got on with my predictions…

M1X
Predicted medalists: Ondrej Synek gold, Marcel Hacker silver, Roel Braas bronze
Actual medalists: Mahe Drysdale, Ondrej Synek, Angel Fournier Rodriguez

What a race….the first K looked pretty much going to my expectations with Synek and Hacker opening up a length on the rest of the field, but the middle K from Drysdale was superb. He just relentlessly reeled Synek in. I really didn’t expect Drysdale to have this sort of speed at this stage in the season. I was expecting him to be up with Synek in Amsterdam, I didn’t expect him to produce the fireworks first time out. It’s great to see the big man back to form.

M2X
Predicted medalists: Croatia gold, Azerbaijan silver, Argentina bronze
Actual medalists: Croatia gold, Azerbaijan silver, Australia bronze

Top two right which is pleasing. The Croatians and Azerbaijanis had a great battle for the first 1750 with not much between them but then the Sinkovic brothers put the hammer down (or Aleksandrov and Yotov started to run out of steam) and they pulled away to a convincing win. The Aussies put in a great finishing sprint with a 1:28.5 final 500 to almost catch the Azerbaijanis on the line.
It was a good first run for the new Kiwi boat and a step on for the new GB combination….but the World Champions from Norway were never in the hunt….not sure what’s happened to them so we’ll have to wait to see what happens in Lucerne.
It’ll also be very interesting to see what the Sinkovic brothers do, whether they stay in the 2X for this season or go back to the quad? The latter will be of particular interest to the British, Ukrainians and Germans.

M2-
Predicted medalists: NZ gold, Ger silver, GB bronze
Actual medalists: NZ gold, Ger silver, GB bronze

All three right….”smug city”…but to be fair it’s not exactly difficult to choose the gold medal winner in this event! The Kiwis put together their usual race profile. They don’t blast off the start and often are headed to the 500m mark. But then their middle 1000 is, frankly astonishing. With no obvious change in speed they just pull away from the field. Such was their dominance that Bond was able to take his inside hand off the handle and have a little wash. They won by a huge 11 seconds. Such was the margin of victory that the cameraman had trouble getting the winners and 2nd place Germans in the same shot.
Behind the Kiwis it was relatively straightforward with the Germans and British establishing their positions early on and staying that way the whole way down the course.
The Kiwis really are a phenomenon. But, what they have done is make the other nations de-prioritise this event. For both the Germans and the British the pair is the 3rd ranked sweep boat. That’s not to suggest that the result would be different if they were the top boat, just the margin of victory wouldn’t be quite so large.
The way it looks at the moment the Kiwis could potentially go two complete Olympic cycles unbeaten.

M4-
Predicted medalists: GB gold, USA silver, GB2 bronze
Actual medalists: GB gold, AUS silver, USA bronze

Another outstanding performance from the new British line-up. Make no mistake this was a truly world class field (with just the Dutch missing) and the British just destroyed them. What was most impressive was the way they looked doing it. In previous years the GB M4- have been successful but have been fairly brutal. This new line-up rows so smoothly they just make it look effortless. Behind them the Aussies and Americans had a great battle with the Aussies just emerging on top. To be fair the line up of both of these crews may well change at Lucerne but it would have to be something pretty special to overturn the dominance the British have shown so far this season.

M4X
Predicted medalist: GB gold, GER silver, POL bronze
Actual medalists: GB gold, GER silver, CAN bronze
Top two right again 🙂
Another awesome race. The Germans blasted out from the blocks and led by 2 seconds at the 1000m mark. But the British quad are getting better every time they race and they stuck to their race plan and just reeled the Germans in passing the them at about 1600m and sculling away from them to win by just about a length. It looked as though the Germans had nothing left in the tanks. The British will take a huge boost from the win, the 2nd time this season they’ve beaten the Germans and to scull through them from a length down was very impressive. Meanwhile the fight for bronze was also turning into a great race. I had completely overlooked the Canadians in my race preview (sorry Pascal!) I won’t be making that mistake again, and they just held off the charging Chinese to take the bronze.
What’ll be very interesting in this event (as mentioned above) is what the Croatians do, will they stay in the double or return to the quad. But, at the moment the momentum is with the British and they are real contenders for gold in Amsterdam.

M8
Predicted medalists: USA gold, GB silver, POL bronze.
Actual medalists: USA gold, GB silver, BLR bronze.
Another top two correct!
This was the USA’s from the first stroke. They attacked and attacked and attacked and it was great to watch. Behind them the British have had a very up and down regatta. They were, frankly poor in the heat. But in the final they finally put together a decent race and put together an impressive final sprint to get a decent overlap with the Americans. The Belorussians have put together a very good 8 from seemingly not very much. They very nearly caught the British on the line. But, with the top two from the Europeans Germany and Russia to come back into things and the Australians and Canadians, things are going to get very, very interesting in this event. I can’t wait till Lucerne.

W1X
Predicted medalists: NZL gold, CZE silver, USA bronze
Actual medalists: NZL gold, CHN silver, AUT bronze
At least I picked the winner!
I thought it would be closer between Twigg and Knapkova but to be fair the World and Olympic champion was never really in the hunt. Twigg, however, was in total control, despite being headed by a fast starting Lobnig. Twigg just moved through and controlled the race very comfortably.
What was more of a surprise was what was going on behind Twigg. It was a great performance from Lobnig and also Duan from China. Knapkova was a little disappointing in 4th and I thought Stone from the US would’ve been a little bit closer to the medals, but it was still an encouraging performance to start the international season. Hopefully a 5th place will help her secure funding.

W2X
Predicted medalists: NZL gold, BLR silver, AUS bronze.
Actual medalists: AUS gold, USA silver, POL bronze.
OK, got this one pretty wrong!
Sally Kehoe and Olympia Aldersey made a pretty big impact on their first European regatta of the season leading the whole way. The US double also beat my expectations taking the Poles passed the 1000m mark.
Karsten and Bichyk had a very up and down season and were never in the race. It remains to be seen if they stay in the double or head back into the quad.

W2-
Predicted medalists: GB gold, NZL silver, USA bronze
Actual medalists: GB gold, USA silver, USA bronze.
As with the Men’s pair it’s getting so that it’s dead easy to predicted the gold medal! It’s the fight for silver and bronze where it gets interesting. Glover and Stanning have picked up where they left off in 2012 and looked pretty imperious as they demolished the fleet of US boats. A little surprised the Kiwis didn’t make the A final. I’m pretty certain the field at Lucerne will look pretty different as the US won’t probably double up their entore W8.

W4X
Predicted medalists: GER gold, CAN silver, USA bronze
Actual medalists: GER gold, USA silver, NZL bronze
The Germans pretty much stamped their authority all over this event. The US tried to go with them but couldn’t keep with their pace. It was a great performance from the Kiwis who had a great race with Canadians for the bronze.

W8
Predicted medalists: USA gold, CAN silver, GB bronze
Actual medalists: USA gold, CAN silver, GB bronze
Got all three right…yeah! But what a race! The US W8 have an unbeaten record that stretches back for what seems like forever. But with them all doubling up in the 2- they put that record on the line. In the first 1000 it looked like the Canadians were going to stroll away with the race. They had clear water on the Americans at the 1000m mark, then the charge began. The US were relentless in laying down some huge power strokes as they reeled in the Canadians. I bet the Canucks couldn’t believe what was happening. At the 1K mark they must have been smiling…but by the final 250 they must have been staring in disbelief as the US just rowed them down. The British had an epic struggle with a completely unknown Chinese crew just squeaking over the line in 3rd.

LM1X
Predicted medalists: CHN gold, DEN silver, GER bronze
Actual medalists: CHN gold, GER silver, GER2 silver
Not too much of a surprise that Wang of China won, he was the class sculler in the field. It was a good ding-dong battle between the two Germans though and I was expecting it to be Schoemann-Fink and not Lawitzke as the leading German. In fact that is the first senior medal Lawitzke has won so it was a great performance.

LM2-
Predicted medalists: GB gold, FRA silver, CHN bronze
Actual medalists: CZE Gold, FRA silver, ARG bronze

I was pretty surprised at this result. I thought the British would win quite comfortably as they definitely had the form on paper. But they just appeared to run out of puff. They were leading at the 1000m mark but couldn’t respond to the sprints laid down by the Czechs and French. It was the same story in the heat where they were leading comfotably but then were caught out in the final sprint. I don’t know if they had any problems but I’m sure they will go back to Caversham and work hard on that final quarter. But that should not detract from a great performance from the Czechs and French who both put in huge final sprints in the dash for the line.
We’ll have to wait and see what happens in Lucerne when I expect the swiss European champions to make an appearance.

LM2X
Predicted medalists: FRA gold, NOR silver, GER bronze
Actual medlaists: FRA gold, GER silver, NOR bronze
We are used to bowball-to-bowball races in this event so for the French to win as comfortably as they did (hey, 2 seconds is a country mile in lightweight racing) was a demonstration of just how good this French double is.
The Germans and the Norwegians had a ding dong battle for the first 1500 swapping 2 and 3rd at each marker before the Germans were able to stretch it out in the final sprint.

LM4-
Predicted medalists: DEN gold, NZL silver, GB Bronze
Actual medalists: NZL gold, DEN silver, GB bronze
2013 saw an epic battle between the top three lightweight nations…Denmark, New Zealand and the British. based on the results in Aiguebelette it looks like this rivalry will continue into 2014. I love watching the Danish LM4- there are just “balls out” from the first to the last stroke. The kiwis to my eyes looked a little smoother and more efficient and the margin of victory of over 2 seconds is quite big for this event. The Americans were, perhaps, the surprise package. I didn’t expect them to beat the French and the Chinese. That’s a great start for the US and I’n not sure they will get amongst the medals against the “big 3” but they won’t be far off at Lucerne.

LW1X
Predicted medalists: GB gold, GER silver, NZL bronze
Actual medalists: NZL gold, GB silver, CHN bronze
Another great race with the Kiwi Julia Edward leading from the start by the 1500 she had opened up a commanding lead and never looked seriously challenged. GB’s Walczak started slowly and had a good battle with Dan of China in the middle 1000, but put in a good last 500m to secure silver.

LW2X
Predicted medalists: GER gold, GBR silver, CAN bronze.
Really pleased I got this one wrong! Copeland and Walsh had a relatively slow start and were only 5th at the 500m mark, but its a mark of how well this pairing have3 gelled in the short time they’ve been together that they were focussed on their own race plan and didn’t panic gradually overhauling the crews in front of them to hit the front coming into the 1500m mark. They then stretched away to a comfortable victory…Copeland’s first world Cup win (despite being an Olympic champion!). behind the British it looked to be a fight between the Germans and the Swedes, but it was the 2nd GB boat who put in a stunning final sprint coming back from over a length behind the Germans and Swedes at the 1500m mark to take the silver. A fabulous result for a new double both of whom ar ein theor first year on the senior team – Piggott is an U23 world champion and Taylor is making her debut this season at the tender age of 29! They will be making sure that the top boat of Copeland and walsh stay sharp for the one spot available at the World championships. But it’s great for GB to have 4 such talented lightweight scullers (5 if you include Ruth Walczak).

So that’s it. In the end I picked 11/17 gold medalists (65%) which isn’t too bad 😉
I can’t wait for Lucerne (although there’s the small matter of Henley Royal Regatta before that – at which I’ll be commentating for Regatta Radio again). The 3rd World Cup is the big one before the worlds….i expect all the big names to be there and it’s going to be fascinating to watch especially the men’s 8 with the Germans and |Russians coming back, the Australians and possibly the Canadians as well – it’ll also be interesting to see what line-up the British have as I’m pretty certain the crew that took silver this weekend is not the finished article.
We shall see!

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5 thoughts on “World Cup 2 – Review

  1. Mark Osborne

    Fatsculler i stumbled upon your blogs just over 2 years ago and I find them immensely enjoyable to read. You bring more life into each regatta with your previews and reviews and long may they continue.
    I read your review of Aiguebelette and i thought this once I would give you my opinion and more of an insight into just one of the races at Aiguebelette because my opinion here differs to yours. Allow me just this once
    LM2x
    Your review was a bit (a tadge, a smidgeon) disrespectable to the others in that A Final. Your comment (hey, 2 seconds is a country mile in lightweight racing) was a bit below the belt. I thought a ‘League of their own’ would have been more appropriate. A country mile to me would have been the Kiwi Pair’s performance. By your own assumption too the New Zealand Lightweight 4 beat the Danes by a country mile and even the Ger2 LM2x beat the World Champions by ¾ of a country mile. You get my point.
    Germany 2 came into the Regatta after just losing out to Germany 1 at the Duisburg Regatta earlier this year and was given a chance by the selectors. This was their first World Cup in an Olympic Boat and only their second ever and they are only just 20 years old. Their target was to try and beat Germany 1 so that they could scull again in Lucerne.
    When the entry List was published they had 29 other competitors and would have to row a Heat, a quarter Final, a semi Final and a Final. It was the biggest field of the Regatta and only 3 World Class boats were missing. The Swiss, the Greeks and the Italians. Germany 2 was overwhelmed, excited and in awe.
    They then went on to win their heat in the second fastest time of all 30 boats. They won their Quarter Final in the fastest time and finally they won their semi and had made the Final whereas Germany 1 was eliminated in their semi. Germany 1 were the silver medal winners at the Euros this year.
    A huge achievement! To add to that they were in one of middle lanes in the Final sandwiched between the French and the Norwegians. European Champions and World Champions . What were their tactics going to be? Were they to attack the French? What could they offer to that race? What happened next is from the perspective of these 2 young Germans.
    They got off to an excellent start and held the French for 300m. Quickly they realised the French were moving away and they could not counter without taking a huge risk. They thought about going with them but they changed their mind (how they can have the presence to think i shall never comprehend). A hugely mature decision and tactically very clever.
    They began to realise they could hold the World Champions and that was giving them hope and fight. They kept themselves glued to the Norwegians. This was their duel and one they were enjoying. Yes enjoying it amongst all the pain they were feeling. With 500m to go they made their first surge and then at 250m to go they put in their final sprint to the line and they beat the World Champions. The reigning U23 Champions beat the reigning World Champions. How cool is that!
    Indeed Martin Cross commented that they were the sensation at this Regatta. Sarah Cook commented saying they were one of the stand out boats at the Regatta. On the Podium they looked lost and star struck. They had been in awe of Norway and France and they were sharing the same Podium with their idols.
    These 2 young German Scullers had shown the World they are ones to watch now not just in the future. Allow them to gain experience, make mistakes (which they will) but above all enjoy their sculling. Was that performance ‘beginners luck? Their Head Trainer at the Mainzerruderverein said no it is just the beginning.
    If any of you see them at a Regatta in the future, should they do well give them encouragement, support them but don’t say they got beaten by a country mile if it wasn’t. These shy 20 year olds just put in a performance of their young lives and entertained us all with their fight against the Norwegians.
    Ones to watch….get that Fats and they may not even make the World Championships in Amsterdam.
    Keep them Previews and Reviews coming. I am one of your fans.

    Yours Aye,

    An immensely proud Father to Jason Osborne stroke of Germany 2 LM2x at Aiguebelette

    Reply
    1. fatsculler Post author

      Hi Mark,
      Thanks for your comments and I’m glad you like the blog. I just wanted to say I certainly intended no disrespect to the rest of the field in my use of language. Your boys certainly had a fantastic regatta and I’ve been keeping an eye on Jason’s progress in the past couple of years. I’m going to be very interested to watch them for the rest of this season and beyond. I assume the intended focus is the U23 worlds? Will they be racing at Lucerne as well?
      They have certainly made us commentators/pundits sit up and take notice.
      Cheers

      Dan

      Reply
  2. Mark O

    Hi Dan,

    Just finished listening to the mornings HRR Finals on Regatta Radio. Super stuff. Shame to hear the Disqualification for Tideway Scullers in the Wyfold.For Jase and Momo Lucerne is the race off between Ger 1 and Ger 2. The winner of this showdown will do the LM2x in Amsterdam and the losers put into the LM4x for Amsterdam.. It is no love lost between these 2 crews. As far as we know Jase and Momo have won the Internal Qualification for U23 Varese in the LM2x but we are still not sure if they are going. July 13th will be when we know!
    BTW no offence taken and keep up your sterling blogs. Germany is starting to hear about a certain ‘Fatsculler’ and his blogs. Your following is becoming even more international.

    Reply
    1. fatsculler Post author

      Hi Mark,
      Glad you liked the commentary, it was great fun to do. I’m just writing my preview for Lucerne so it’s certainly going to be very interesting to see the internal battles in the LM2X. Good luck to Jason and Moos…I shall be watching with interest!

      Reply

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