Cloudless blue skies and warm weather greeted the 24 nations that competed on the first day of the Sabaudia World Rowing Cup. It has been 43 years since Sabaudia last hosted an international rowing event. The conditions were near-perfect for those racing early in the schedule. As the day progressed the wind flitted from tail to cross but did not trouble the athletes.
The lightweight women’s single scullers were the first to test the water and the win went to the Swiss sculler Sofia Meakin but all six meet again in the A-Final.
Not so for the men as only two were allowed to progress directly to the A-Final. That route was taken by Rajko Hvrat and Martino Goretti.
Slovenia’s Hvrat rowed through the Hungarian World silver medallist Peter Galambos in the first Heat, and Italy’s Martino Goretti the current World Champion won the second Heat in dominant fashion.
It was a good start to the weekend for Rasmussen and Erichsen of Denmark in the women’s pairs event.
They put a five second margin into the Croatian Jurkovic sisters who finished second. All six women’s pairs will race in the A-Final.
The Turlan brothers were favourites in the first Heat of the men’s pairs. At halfway they trailed the British and the Italians, ultimately the French paddled across the finish in last place. Hometown heroes and Olympic bronze medallists Giovanni Abagnale and Marco Di Costanzo were happy to take the scalp. At Lucerne the Italian duo raced in the bows of the Italian men’s four and finished fourth. Britain’s Tarczy and de Graaf led the middle thousand but eventually succumbed to the Italian sprint. Both crews will fight for the medals in the A-Final. Joining them will be the Croatians and the second British crew. It was no surprise to see the Sinkovic brothers lead from start to finish in the second Heat. Ryan Todhunter and James Vogel of Great Britain put almost ten seconds into the German duo. The Germans came third and will race in Saturday’s repechage.
More images from Sabaudia, day 1 here
Germany won the first Heat of the women’s double sculls while the two Italian crews focussed on beating each other. It will be a stressful weekend for the Italian scullers as the racing forms an internal selection test for Tokyo. In the other Heat the top spot and direct passage to the A-Final went to the Dutch double who are fresh from their silver medal performance at the Lucerne World Cup. Switzerland, Poland, the two Italian crews and the second German double will all race in the repechage.
The Polish 2019 World Champion men’s four were kept honest by a tenacious development crew from Great Britain. Poland, the higher rating crew, tracked down the course at 40 strokes per minute yet were unable to break clear of the British who launched a strong sprint. It was not enough to win, and Poland took the sole A-Final qualification spot by half a length.
The other British four was again the fastest non-qualifiers with their second spot finish in the other Heat. Home favourites Italy won with a length and a quarter in hand.
The women’s single sculls event has thirteen entries and as many of the top scullers are not in attendance this event is wide open. There were three heats – Pia Greiten of Germany blasted out of the blocks in the first heat with Namibia’s Maike Diekmann in hot pursuit. They led the field until late charge by the French sculler Audrey Feutrie saw move past Diekmann in the final quarter. All three progress to the A|B semi-final. In the second heat the Dutch and the British battled at the front of the field. The former World Champion of Sophier Souwer whose last World Cup appearance was as a spare in the Dutch four edged it. Another strong British performance followed in the third heat as low rating Lola Anderson secured second place ahead of the Sweden and behind Ukraine. Diana Dymchenko the Ukrainian sculler who is based at Sabaudia will be hoping to maintain her form throughout the competition.
There are 22 scullers competing in the men’s single sculls event making it the most contested event of the regatta. A win in the Heat meant direct entry into the A-Final. In the first Heat Poland’s Natan Wegrzycki-Szymczyk still sore from missing Olympic qualification earlier in the season was unable to reel in the young Italian talent. Gennaro di Mauro pleased the local volunteers with his dominant win. Faroe Islander Sverri Nielsen ticked over at rate 30 in the second Heat and was never challenged for the top spot.
The third Head saw a razor-sharp performance from Kjetil Borch who overhauled Damir Martin and forced the Croatian into second.
It was a German one two in the fourth heat as Zeidler cruised to the finish line ahead of teammate Stephan Riemekasten.