Rowing: Redgrave four face test of resolve

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The Independent Online
Britain's new coxless four, which is Steve Redgrave's chosen vehicle to stay on top of world rowing for the next four years will meet tough competition in the second round of the World Cup in Paris this weekend.

New on the scene is a French boat starting alongside strong crews from Slovenia, Romania and Germany. After years of achieving little, France led the world in this event in 1993 and finished second in Atlanta last year.

The British crew, in which Redgrave and long-term partner Matthew Pinsent are joined by James Cracknell and Tim Foster, won last time out in Munich and lead the World Cup rankings.

France bring together three of their gold medal four, two of whom - Jean Christophe Rolland and Michel Andrieux - were two seconds behind Redgrave and Pinsent in Atlanta last year.

They have been racing an eight this year hoping to challenge in the flagship event at the World Championships on Lac Aiguebelettes in September. But that has not worked and now they have something to prove against the target crew for 1997.

Peter Haining, the Scot, who is the only single sculler to win the lightweight world title three times, makes his first appearance in this competition after a year racing as an open weight. Haining has thought a lightweight double sculls partner as the best route to an Olympic medal but finds himself alone this year.

Provided his drive is still fresh he should have plenty to compete for against a new generation of contenders for his crown.

There will be two British eights in Paris, each of which finished second in Munich. The open weights will have a strengthened version of the German crew which beat them by two seconds and new line-ups from Australia and France.

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