With the dust settling from the Aiguebelette World Cup, the focus (in the UK at any rate) switches to Henley Royal Regatta next week – more on that in a few days. But this weekend sees another of the “big” European Regattas…the Aegon Holland Beker. Always a well supported regatta, this year it has an extra edge as it gives an opportunity for some national teams to try out the Bosbaan course ahead of this year’s World Championships.
I thought I’d take a very quick look at the main events and pick out a few competitors to watch:
23 scullers. Roel Braas won the Holland Beker last year and is back to defend his title. He was probably a little disappointed not to make the “A” final at the World Cup last week and will hoping for a good performance at his home event before travelling to Henley to compete in the Diamonds. The Dutch M2X that finished 5th at the European Championships Dirk Uittenbogaard and Thijs van Luijk are both racing in singles and could well push Braas hard to defend his title.
One of the most interesting entries is the return to competition of George Bridgewater. The 31 year old Kiwi last raced internationally at the Beijing Olympics when he won a bronze medal in the M2- with partner Nathan Twaddle. Bridgewter has been based in the UK for the past few months and been training out of Alan Campbell’s club Tideway Scullers school. Like Braas he is also entered in the Diamonds at Henley so it’ll be interesting to guage his relative speed.
Australia have 2 scullers entered – Nick Purnell (Australia’s representative in the M1X at the World Championships last year where he finished 14th) and John Linke who was in the Australian 8 that finished 4th at the 2011 World Championships. Racing for Sydney University is a third Australian, Hamish Playfair (9th in the U23 M4X last year).
Another interesting entry is Canada’s Julien Bahain. He was 6th in the final at Aiguebelette when he made his competitive debut for his adopted nation.
24 scullers. Kim Crow makes her debut racing in Europe and will start as overwhelming favourite. She was just pipped to gold at the first World Cup by Emma Twigg following an astonishing sprint by the Kiwi. Crow totally dominated the W1X last year and will be looking to get back to that dominance with a win in the Beker.
The main threat may well come from China’s Jingli Duan who took silver behind Twigg at the 2nd World Cup last week. Also watch out for 2010 world champion Frida Svensson making her debut for the season. Also look for the USA’s Gevvie Stone who finished 5th last week.
Local support will be focused on Inge Janssen, the Dutch woman finished 4th in the W2X at the World Cup. An exciting young sculler to watch is Jess Leyden from GB, she won the World Junior Championships last year and is entered in the Princess Royal next week at Henley.
7 crews. 1 international entry from China with Yanan Lin and Bobo Qiao. Lin was in the M8 and Qiao the M4- at the World Cup. The lightweight Proteus pairing of Arnoud Greidanus and Joeri Bruschinski both have international experience with Greidanus racing in the LM4- that finished 12th last year and Bruschinski 7th in the LM8 in 2012.
7 crews. The fearsome US W8 have repeated their doubling up exploits from Aiguebelette with 4 pairs racing although it is a completely different line up to last weekend. They will probably dominate the medals although the Chinese have the same pair that finished 5th last week. Local support will be behind the Dutch European Championship bronze medalists Aletta Jorritsma & Helen Boers.
11 crews. This looks to be an enticing battle between the US 4 that were 3rd last week and the Dutch 2013 World Champions. Throw into the mix the Canadian 4 that finished 4th last week. Both the US and Canada have also entered their LM4-from the World Cup. The US were 4th and the Canadians 8th.
10 crews. Canada look to be favourite with the crew that finished 3rd at the World Cup. It’ll be interesting to see how they get on against the new Australian quad. The Dutch will draw on local support and have the same crew that finished 12th at the European Championships. The British have a young quad that is part of the Welsh Rowing team (Pete Robinson, Tom Barras, Sam Whittaker and Robbie Massey)
4 crews. The US have 2 quads made up of the majority of their dominant W8 from last weekend (along with Tracy Eisser and Adrienne Martelli). They will be challenged by a Chinese quad which combines 2 of the Quad from last week with the W2X from the World Cup. The British have a young U23 quad that may struggle against this sort of opposition.
12 crews.The USA have made one change to the crew that won the World Cup last week with Austin Hack replacing Mike Gennaro. The Chinese have made a number of changes to the crew that finished 6th last week with the 4- from the World Cup being brought into the 8. The leading Dutch crew are racing as a KNRB Composite are the majority of the crew that finished 7th at the European Championships. An interesting entry is from Mexico (I don’t remember seeing a Mexican M8 racing in Europe before). It includes the M2- of Patrick Loliger Salas & Leopoldo Tejada Rios that finished 6th last week.
So that’s it for a whistle stop look at the open events. Should be some good racing.