All you need to know about World Cup 1 in Belgrade

The 2018 international racing season gets underway with World Cup 1 in Belgrade between 1-3 June. Here’s all you need to know about the event.

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The men's quad in Belgrade at World Cup 1 in 2017 (Naomi Baker)

About Belgrade

Belgrade, the capital of Serbia, is home to 1.6 million people. The city lies at the junction of two rivers – the Danube and the Sava.

The Ada Ciganlija Regatta course is situated on Sava Lake which is located in the heart of Belgrade, 5km from the city centre. The artificially created lake is 3,000m in length and 250m wide, situated in a southwest-northeast direction.

When will they be racing?

All of the racing is scheduled to take place between Friday and Sunday, with the A and B finals on the last two days of competition. In most cases the heats will be on Friday, with semi-finals and repechages taking place on Saturday. Finals of the Olympic-class boats will take place on Sunday, with international class and Para-rowing finals on Saturday afternoon.

>>> Full racing schedule

How can I watch the racing?

The BBC will be broadcasting live coverage of the finals on Sunday on the Red Button, with a 90 minute highlights programme scheduled to broadcast on BBC2 on Sunday afternoon. The BBC team will again consist of Sir Matthew Pinsent, Dame Katherine Grainger and Garry Herbert.

Live coverage: BBC Red Button 09.30-13.00

Highlights: BBC2 13.30-15.00

British Rowing will be bringing you coverage of the event on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, so make sure to follow us across all three channels to catch the best of the action.

Who’s in the Great Britain squad?

Great Britain is sending 20 crews to the first World Cup of the year.

Both Jürgen Grobler and Paul Thompson have named strong eights to start the 2018 season, with the men’s crew containing Olympic gold medallists Moe Sbihi and Will Satch, as well as fellow Olympians Alan Sinclair and Matthew Tarrant.

The men’s quad, which won a memorable silver at the 2017 World Championships, sees Tom Barras, Jonny Walton, Graeme Thomas and John Collins come together. Barras won bronze in the single sculls in Sarasota-Bradenton, and young Scot Harry Leask takes that seat in Belgrade.

Trials winner Jamie Copus races in the lightweight single, with Zak Lee-Green and Sam Mottram named in the lightweight double sculls. A second lightweight double sees Edinburgh University youngsters James Temple and Gavin Horsburgh racing together on the international stage.

>>> GB squad for World Cup 1 in Belgrade

World Championships silver medallist Vicky Thornley continues again in the single sculls – she finished second in Belgrade last year behind eventual world champion Jeannine Gmelin of Switzerland. European Championships bronze medallist Emily Craig races with fellow 2016 world champion Ellie Piggott in the lightweight double scull.

The women’s eight retains five members of the crew that finished fifth in Florida last year, with six members doubling up in a four and pair as well. Bow duo Anastasia Chitty and Rebecca Girling will race in one of two GB pairs, with Rebecca Shorten, Karen Bennett, Holly Norton and Fiona Gammond doubling up in the second of two fours.

Andy Houghton – fourth at the Worlds last year – races in the PR1 single scull, having won two silvers at the Gavirate International Regatta earlier in May. Laurence Whiteley is unfortunately a late scratch in the PR2 M1x, with illness preventing him from competing.

Who else will be there?

Some of the world’s top rowing nations have opted to forego the first World Cup of the season, but a strong field still remains in each of the events.

All eyes will be on the men’s eight, as world champions Germany send the same nine athletes to Belgrade that won gold in Sarasota-Bradenton. They’ll renew their battle with Great Britain, who beat them to gold at Rio 2016.

The two single scull events should prove lively affairs as well. Thornley will face Gmelin once again, with regular A-finalists Magdalena Lobnig (Austria), Ekaterina Karsten (Belarus), Annekatrin Thiele (Germany) and Carling Zeeman (Canada) all on the start line in Belgrade.

>>> Key competitors for World Cup 1

Men’s world champion Ondrej Synek (Czech Republic) also returns with silver medallist Angel Fournier Rodriguez (Cuba). Tim Ole Naske of Germany finished sixth in Florida and should also challenge for the podium in Belgrade.

World champion Erik Horrie (Australia) and Paralympic champion Roman Polyianski (Ukraine) will be among Houghton’s main rivals in the PR1 single. The Brit twice finished second behind the Ukrainian in Gavirate.

How the World Cup series works

Three World Cup events take place each year; 2018 sees the series visit Belgrade, Linz and Lucerne.

Each of the World Cup regattas offers racing for the 14 Olympic boat classes, with a handful of International boat classes also offered. World Cup points are only awarded for the Olympic disciplines, however.

Finishing first in an Olympic class event gives your nation eight points; second nets you six points, third place is five points and down to one point for finishing seventh. Should one nation have two boats in the top seven, only the highest placed boat will be awarded the points.

Points are added up across all three regattas, with the nation holding the most points in each boat class denoted by a yellow bib.

At the end of the series, there are winners of each Olympic boat class, as well as an overall winner – the nation that has won the most points.

Great Britain topped the World Cup standings in 2017 ahead of New Zealand.

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