Redgraveready for glory

The British team for the World Championships on Lac Aiguebelettes near Chambery in Eastern France in September has a fresh-faced, post-Olympic look.

The 35-year-old Steven Redgrave, looking as relaxed and confident as in any of the 18 years he has been in the British team, will race in the coxless four with his partner in gold since 1991, Matthew Pinsent, and James Cracknell and Tim Foster.

Cracknell said: "I have not won a major race since my junior gold in 1990 and in this crew you learn exactly how much you have to do at certain times in the race.

"I am surprised at how fresh I'm feeling sometimes. But then of course winning is much easier than losing. We may not have the highest cruising speed but no one can match our change of pace in a 40 stroke burst." The four made their competitive debut in Munich in May and has won all seven races since.

The coxless pair of Bobby Thatcher and Ben Hunt-Davis has finished second all summer. But the combination has proved a revelation, having been born out of a coxed four. The four was a man short at Munich and the pair raced to make up the programme. Taking second place, they feared this might be a fluke in the unfair conditions, but repeated it in Paris where the conditions were tricky but equal and then did it again at Lucerne to tie on points in the World Cup.

They travel to the championships with genuine hopes of a medal in an event where Britain, in the form of Redgrave, has been on the rostrum for the last 10 years.

Two women's crews of high class have emerged during the season: a coxless pair of Cath Bishop and Dot Blackie, and a double scull of Gillian Lindsay and Miriam Batten. It is to be hoped that each will train on after second places in Paris and fourth places in Lucerne.

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