The heats two days ago saw that Italy’s Matteo Lodo and Giuseppe Vicino would be the favourite in today’s final as they recorded the fastest qualifying time by a handy margin. Lodo and Vicino come out of the Rio Olympic men’s four where they took bronze. This is their first international race for the 2017 season. They faced winner of the other heat, Valentin and Theophile Onfroy of France. The brothers also raced in Rio in the men’s four. Lodo and Vicino got away the quickest with the Czech Republic forming a virtual line with Serbia and France just behind Italy.

Italy then managed to get an edge over the crews that were tussling behind them with the Netherlands joining in the fight. Only the winners of World Rowing Cup I, Great Britain was slightly out of the picture. Lodo and Vicino moved into the final sprint with a small lead with France now clear in second. But margins were still tight and the last 250m would decide the race. Gold went to Italy, France held on to silver and Serbia’s Milos Vasic and Nenad Bedik got the bronze.

Results: ITA, FRA, SRB, CZE, GBR, NED

Matteo Lodo (b), Italy, gold
“We did a very fast start and fast first 500m. In the middle the fight was very close between the boats and we managed to finish strong. We are very happy. We don’t know yet if we do the pair or the four in the future, but we would like to continue in the pair.”

Valentin Onfroy (b), Theophile Onfroy (s), France, silver
“We are very satisfied, we were a bit stressed before the race, we needed show our presence in the A-final today. We made a bit of an error at the beginning, then we got it back and didn’t lose our rhythm again. We are happy to be in the pair, we think that we still have room to grow.”

Nenad Bedik (s), Serbia, bronze

“Very hard race, but still good. Italy and France went and we just tried to keep pace with them. In the second half we just tried to keep our pace and keep up. We are looking forward to the second World Cup.”

B-final

Last year’s European Champions, Hungary found themselves in today’s b-final after finishing out of the qualifying spots in the repechage. Spain led the way as they had a chance to improve by one spot on their 2016 eighth-place finish. Spain gained more of a lead as the race progressed and got to an open water lead. But a last minute awesome sprint by Belarus gave them first place, and seventh overall on the line.

Results: BLR, ESP, HUN, GER