Oxford win boat race

Alex Lowe,Pa Sport
Wednesday 26 February 2014 02:25

Oxford University stormed to victory over Cambridge in the 155th Xchanging Boat Race.

Oxford, the strong pre-race favourites and the heaviest crew in the 180-year history of the Boat Race, trailed heading into the Surrey bend after Cambridge had made a sharp start.

The Light Blues, who had won the toss and opted for the Surrey station, led by half a length at the two mile mark but could not take advantage of the sweeping middle bend.

The crews clashed oars as Oxford began the fightback at the Chiswick Reach and, in a repeat of last year's victory, the Dark Blues powered clear.

Oxford's victory was their fourth in the last five years and their seventh this decade under coach Sean Bowden.

Oxford's 75th Boat Race victory was secured by three and a half lengths and in a winning time of 17 minutes and one second.

The Oxford stroke, Ante Kusurin, one of five Olympians in the Dark Blues crew and a loser in 2007, described it as the "greatest victory of my life".

He added: "They were really good off the start. They took a length on the inside of the Surrey bend. I said: 'Let's go,' and all the boys kicked in.

"The right stuff came out and we went through them."

Cambridge boasted five returning Blues and a vastly experienced cox in the shape of Rebecca Dowbiggin, who was competing in her third Boat Race.

The Light Blues' renowned early pace ensured Oxford earned no advantage from being inside on the first Middlesex bend.

Cambridge edged ahead as the race reached the Harrods Depository and they stretched that lead to three quarters of a length on the sweeping Surrey bend.

But, just when Cambridge needed to hammer home the advantage, the Light Blues' rhythm was disrupted by a clash of oars.

They could not put clear water between the two boats - and Oxford took full advantage.

Kusurin demanded a reaction and Oxford drew themselves level around Chiswick Reach and then pulled clear as the Thames turned in their favour on the second Middlesex bend.

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