Drysdale over Zeidler, Germany over Great Britain. The World Rowing Fantasy Cup concludes.
The final round of the 2020 World Rowing Fantasy Cup saw some of the closest battles and the highest number of votes as athletes charged toward the finish line. Here’s a recap of this weekend’s race through time.
Racing got underway with another nail-biter in the women’s pair. The British crew of Helen Glover and Heather Stanning came off their win in round two of the racing to go up against the all-star Romanian crew of Georgeta Andrunache and Viorica Susanu. The two crews got out to a blistering start, going stroke for stroke through 500m. Every time the British made a small move, the Romanians pushed back. Coming into the final sprint, Glover and Stanning lengthened their stroke slightly and took up the rate. It was just enough to push them over the line ahead of Romania.
Winner: Great Britain (2852 votes)
Runner-up: Romania (2373 votes)
Next up was the men’s pair with the ultimate showdown between Great Britain’s Sir Steve Redgrave and Matthew Pinsent against The Kiwi Pair of Eric Murray and Hamish Bond. The two pairs got off to a clean start, with the Kiwis at their typical low-rate. As the Kiwi engine started to turn up the heat, the British could not keep up. In their typical style, Murray and Bond pulled away in the second 500m and continued to extend their lead. By the final sprint, they were racing in a league of their own.
Winner: New Zealand (4874 votes)
Runner-up: Great Britain (1668 votes)
Friday’s racing continued with the eights. The women’s eight saw the return of the 2004 Romanian crew that battled their way through the first two rounds to end up in the final. They have been unstoppable. Quick off the start, the Romanian crew picked up an early lead against the 2019 New Zealand women’s eight. The Kiwis tried to find their rhythm and made a push through the middle of the race. Still within sparring distance of the Romanians, the Kiwis tried desperately to get their bowball back in front, but Romania had taken too much. Into the final sprint, Romania claimed the title in the women’s eight.
Winner: Romania (3347 votes)
Runner-up: New Zealand (2537 votes)
The men’s eight race was another close one as the 2016 British boat went up against the 2019 German boat. It was almost history repeating itself as these two crews lined up at the start. They went off almost synchronously, raking in early votes. Germany edged into the lead at 500m, but it was not by much. The British put in a push and took back the lead for just a few strokes. But Germany was not going to give in. Germany upped their rate, coxswain Martin Sauer calling the shots. And it was Germany, just by a deck at the finish line.
Winner: Germany (3495 votes)
Runner-up: Great Britain (3195 votes)
Day two, the final day of the World Rowing Fantasy Cup series started with the highly anticipated races in the women’s single sculls. Ekaterina Karsten, the rowing legend from Belarus, already proved her speed through the first two rounds of racing. She went up against current World Champion, Sanita Puspure of Ireland. But Karsten has been unbeatable in this series, and she was not about to let up in the final. Getting out to an early lead, Karsten was able to control the race from the front, finishing with an impressive win to add to her long list of accolades.
Winner: Ekaterina Karsten (BLR) – (3912 votes)
Runner-up: Sanita Puspure (IRL) – (1836 votes)
The men’s single sculls then took to the water to pin rowing legend Mahe Drysdale against the young Oliver Zeidler from Germany. Zeidler is known for his incredible strength and dominating stature, but Drysdale has the advantage of years of experience in the men’s single. The two powered off the start line, both working slowly up to top speed. As they reached their cruising tempo, Drysdale started to lengthen his stroke. Zeidler had no chance. As the iconic sound of Drysdale chugging along spread across the water, his boat speed turned to gold. Drysdale, picking up the most votes so far in the fantasy challenge, crossed the finish line to claim yet another title.
Winner: Mahe Drysdale (NZL) – (5654 votes)
Runner-up: Oliver Zeidler (GER) – (2273 votes)
After the hustle of the singles, the lightweights finally lined up at the start. First up was the lightweight women’s double with the New Zealand duo of Jackie Kiddle and Zoe McBride going up against Romania’s Constanta Burcica and Angela Alupei-Tamas. New Zealand is not known for their quick starts, but this race turned that upside-down. The Kiwis flew off the blocks and began collecting the votes. As they came through the middle of the race, Romania made a last-ditch effort to get back into the race. It was too little, too late. New Zealand crossed the finish line in style.
Winner: New Zealand (4187 votes)
Runner-up: Romania (1917 votes)
Not many crews from the first round made it all the way to the final with convincing wins. But the in the lightweight men’s double, the Danish have been absolutely unstoppable. Mads Rasmussen and Rasmus Quist have taken on the best of rowing’s past and present and come out convincingly on top every time. In the final round, they raced Poland’s Tomasz Kucharski and Robert Sycz. Kucharski and Sycz put up a valiant effort, but the Danes were quick off the start. Once they had the lead, they felt the final victory in their sights. They carried their lead straight through to the finish.
Winner: Denmark (4013 votes)
Runner-up: Poland (1916 votes)
The para rowers finished off the day of racing the PR2 para mixed double sculls. Great Britain’s Laurence Whiteley and Lauren Rowles challenged the Dutch duo of Corne de Koning and Annika van der Meer. The race was tight at the start as both crews quickly settled into their rhythm. Then, slowly, but surely, the British duo began edging their way in front. Coming into the final sprint, Whiteley and Rowles had enough of a buffer to fend off any challenges from the Dutch. The British claimed the title in the final World Rowing Fantasy Cup.
Winner: Great Britain (3146 votes)
Runner-up: The Netherlands (2009 votes)