19 May 2021
Rowers to watch at the 2021 World Rowing Cup II in Lucerne
With just over two months to go until the start of the Tokyo Olympic Games, athletes are desperate to test their speed and practice racing. The ‘Lake of Gods’ in Lucerne, Switzerland is one of the perfect places to do so. Here are the rowers to watch at the 2021 World Rowing Cup II which goes from 21 to 23 May 2021.
Women’s pair (W2-)
The crew to beat is probably Romania’s Adriana Ailincai and Iuliana Buhus. Together the pair won gold at the 2020 European Rowing Championships and silver at the 2021 European Rowing Championships. With the absence of Helen Glover and Polly Swann, the Romanian Pair is the favourite in this boatclass.
Watch out for Spain’s Aina Cid and Virginia Diaz Rivas, who finished with bronze in Varese. The two crews are likely to find a place in the final. Keep an eye too on Greece’s Maria Kyridou and Christina Bourmpou and don’t rule out fast line-ups from Ireland and Chile.
Men’s pair (M2-)
In the absence of the Sinkovic brothers, this field becomes difficult to predict. The Romanian combination of Marius-Vasile Cozmiuc and Ciprian Tudosa may be the crew to beat. They were fourth at the 2021 European Championships and have a European Championships title from 2020. Watch out too for the French twins, Thibaud and Guillaume Turlan. They finished just behind the Sinkovic brothers at the first World Rowing Cup and have been entered as France1, ahead of teammates Valentin and Theophile Onfroy, who finished sixth at the 2019 World Rowing Championships.
Italy’s Giuseppe Vicino and Matteo Lodo are back racing. They finished second at the 2021 European Rowing Championships and were fourth at the 2019 World Rowing Championships. Then there’s Serbia. If they have a good race, they could potentially find medal success.
Women’s double sculls (W2x)
It is going to be fast and furious and an excellent opportunity for teams to see how they stack up against each other. Romania’s Nicoleta-Ancuta Bodnar and Simona Geanina Radis are defending European Champions and have a silver medal from the 2019 World Rowing Championships. Lithuania have put their Olympic medallist crew of Milda Valciukaite and Donata Karaliene back together. They finished just behind Romania at the European Championships and picked up a gold medal at World Rowing Cup I.
There are other fast crews as well. The Dutch duo of Lisa Scheenard and Roos de Jong finished off the podium at the European Championships, but are bronze medallists from the 2019 World Championships. And the United States is entered with their new-look crew of Genevra Stone and Kristina Wagner.
Men’s double sculls (M2x)
If the women’s double sculls is going to be exciting, the men’s won’t disappoint either. Looking at the 2021 results, France is the crew to beat. Hugo Boucheron and Matthieu Androdias won both the European Championships and the first World Rowing Cup. But can they maintain it? The field behind them is fierce including the 2020 European Champions from the Netherlands Stef Broenink and Melvin Twellaar and the 2021 European bronze medallists from Great Britain Graeme Thomas and John Collins.
The Swiss combination of Barnabe Delarze and Roman Roeoesli have been top contenders over the last few seasons, as well as the Polish duo of Miroslaw Zietarski and Mateusz Biskup. And don’t forget about Ireland’s Philip Doyle and Ronan Byrne. They were seventh at the European Championships and have a silver medal from the 2019 World Rowing Championships.
Women’s Four (W4-)
The defending European Champions and world silver-medallists from the Netherlands have made a change in their line-up due to injury. Sophie Souwer has stepped into the bow seat to replace Ellen Hogerwerf. It will be interesting to see if this affects their speed. Challenging them will definitely be the European silver and bronze medallists from Ireland and Great Britain, respectively. The Irish combination just secured their ticket to Tokyo last weekend at the Final Olympic Qualification Regatta and they’ve stayed in Lucerne to get in one more racing opportunity.
Poland and Denmark have been in the A-finals and just shy of the medals at the last few events. Romania has not posted good results in the last few years, but their women’s sweep team is so well developed, they might just stand a chance at a medal.
Men’s four (M4-)
There are ten crews entered and it will certainly be a race to watch. The British have kept their European Champion line-up together to go for another medal. But they will have a challenging field to content with. The crew from Poland are defending World Champions, and with a spare on board, they finished just shy of the podium at the European Rowing Championships. They are back in full-force.
Watch out too for Romania. They have a silver medal from the 2021 European Rowing Championships and the 2019 World Rowing Championships. Don’t count out Italy either. They have been on the podium at the championship events over the last Olympic cycle. The new combination from South Africa just qualified for the Olympic Games and will be going after racing experience.
Women’s single sculls (W1x)
All eyes will be on Ireland’s Sanita Puspure. She is defending World Champion and won the European Championships in 2020. In Puspure’s absence, Hanna Prakhatsen from Russia took the European title in 2021. It will be interesting to see how Prakhatsen performs against Puspure.
There’s also World bronze medallist Kara Kohler of the United States. She’s competing for the first time since the 2019 World Championships. Victoria Thornley of Great Britain is entered as well. Thornley claimed a silver medal at the 2021 European Rowing Championships. Magdalena Lobnig of Austria and Jeannine Gmelin of Switzerland are also potential medallists.
Men’s single sculls (M1x)
With 25 entries, the men’s single sculls is the biggest boat class here. Oliver Zeidler from Germany found his speed again at the 2021 European Rowing Championships to win the title. He had a disappointing race back in 2020, when he finished fourth.
Other top contenders are Sverri Nielsen of Denmark and Kjetil Borch from Norway. Nielsen is the 2020 European Rowing Champion and finished just behind Zeidler at the 2019 World Rowing Championships. And Borch is the 2018 World Rowing Champion who, despite an up-and-down season in 2019, seems to be back on form for 2021. Olympic silver medallist Ondrej Synek and young Greek sculler Stefanos Ntouskos might also stand a chance at a medal.
Lightweight women’s double sculls (LW2x)
With the 2021 European gold medallists, the Italian duo of Valentina Rodini and Federica Cesarini missing, two other speedy combinations could be in contention for gold: The Dutch and Romania. The Netherlands have the silver medal from the 2019 World Rowing Championships, the gold from the 2020 European Championships and a bronze medal from the 2021 event. Romania won a bronze medal at the 2020 European Championships, but did not race together at the 2021 event. France and Ireland have entered impressive line-ups as well.
Lightweight men’s double sculls (LM2x)
The defending World Champions from Ireland are back and looking to claim the top spot on the podium. Right with them will be the fast combination from Germany – they finished second at both the 2020 and 2021 European Championships.
Italy’s Pietro Ruta and Stefano Oppo are bronze medallists from the 2021 European Champs and they won the European Championships back in 2020 and have a silver medal from the 2019 World Rowing Championships. Don’t rule out a fast race from the Norwegians, who are back competing in this lightweight category.
Women’s quadruple sculls (W4x)
This will be the first time that the Dutch, the Germans and the Polish go up against the Chinese since the 2019 World Rowing Championships, where the Chinese came out on top. All crews will certainly be looking to see how they measure up before heading to Tokyo.
These four crews have pretty much dominated the category over the last three years and all four crews are almost exactly the same as at the 2019 World Rowing Championships line-ups. Poland rowed with a spare on board at the last two events and did not have success, but are back to their 2019 line-up. The Dutch made one change after 2019 and won both the 2020 and 2021 European Championships. Germany similarly made one shift in the line-up since 2019 and have seen more medal success. And China has not raced since 2019, but is back with their gold-medal winning combination. It will all come down to the final in Lucerne.
Men’s quadruple sculls (M4x)
The Dutch were defending European and World Champions, that was until Italy came through on Italy’s home water in Varese to take the European title just one month ago. Both crews are entered again in Lucerne and they are likely to be fighting for the podium.
Other challengers will be Poland, Germany and Great Britain. Poland are 2019 World silver medallists, but they had a sluggish start to the 2021 season. Great Britain finished fifth at the European Rowing Championships in a tight race. And Germany had to withdraw from the European Championships due to illness. They then were back on form at the first World Rowing Cup finishing third.
Men’s eight (M8+)
With just three crews entered, they are arguably the fastest three men’s eights in the world and it might be expected that they will all medal come Tokyo – the question is: in what order?
The British shook up the order of things when they came to the European Champs with a new line-up and a new coach and managed to topple the German dominance. The Germans came fourth. Was something wrong? After years of domination it was strange to see them off the podium. And the Dutch are desperately trying to make waves in the men’s eight. They will be putting up a fight.
Lightweight women’s single sculls (LW1x)
There are 16 crews entered. In this non-Olympic category, many of these athletes will act as spares for the lightweight women’s doubles that are qualified for Tokyo. The field includes some recent medallists like Sofia Meakin of Switzerland. She finished second at the 2020 European Rowing Championships and won at the first World Rowing Cup. Watch out too for Martine Veldhuis of the Netherlands who was European Champion in 2020, or Federica Cesarini, rowing in the single in the absence of her lightweight double’s partner, Valentina Rodini. Germany, France and Ireland also have top athletes with potential for top finishes.
Lightweight men’s single sculls (LM1x)
Italy is the country to watch. Martino Goretti is the 2019 World Champion, but he is entered as the number two sculler, behind the young Niels Torre. Torre finished second at the 2020 European Rowing Championships and competed together with Goretti in the lightweight men’s quad that won at the 2021 European event. Keep an eye too on France’s Pierre Houin and Germany’s Joachim Agne.