A train passes by during the Lightweight Women’s Single Sculls heats on Day one of the Rowing World Cup held on July 9, 2010 in Lucerne, Switzerland. (Photo by John Gichigi/Getty Images)

Fifty nations have sent a huge contingent of 901 athletes to compete on the Rotsee, the mecca of rowing in Switzerland. This impressive turnout is partly due to Lucerne being the last time many of these countries will get to race each other before the all-important Olympic Qualification Regatta that is part of the World Rowing Championships in Bled, Slovenia, at the end of August.

The men’s single sculls has attracted 30 entries of arguably the most competitive field ever seen in this event. The entire field from the 2008 OIympic final is there. Reigning World Champion Ondrej Synek of the Czech Republic will take on former World Champions Mahe Drysdale of New Zealand and Germany’s Marcel Hacker as well as Olympic Champion Olaf Tufte of Norway.

Ekaterina Karsten of Belarus races again in the women’s single sculls, but her domination looks under threat. Germany’s single sculling find, Annkatrin Thiele, continues to close in on the Belarusian and New Zealand’s Emma Twigg has also been pressing Karsten hard.

Boats in the warm-up area at the 2010 Rowing World Cup in Lucerne, Switzerland.

Crews from Australia and Canada have remained reasonably quiet for most of the season, but they are all out in force this time. Three-time Olympic Champion Drew Ginn is back on the Australian team in the men’s four, while 2008 Olympic Champions in the men’s double sculls, Australians David Crawshay and Scott Brennan, are racing together again for the first time since Beijing. Canada has arrived with a men’s eight that sees Olympic Champion coxswain Brian Price back in the steering position. The Canadians will face Germany who are in the midst of a three-year winning streak.

Germany is currently at the top of the World Cup points table, but with Great Britain bringing a large squad to Lucerne, the German lead is under threat. Great Britain led the table after World Cup I, but did not race at World Cup II and, thus, lost their top position.

A full World Rowing Cup event by event preview will be available on www.worldrowing.com on Wednesday 6 July.

Entries and the provisional race schedule are available from today on www.worldrowing.com. Click here for direct access.

The World Cup event finals will be video-streamed live on Sunday 10 July and can be accessed through the video section of the website.

The World Rowing Cup series was launched in 1997 and includes all 14 Olympic boat classes. The overall World Rowing Cup winners are determined after a series of three regattas. This year, the three stages of the series are held in Munich, Germany (27-29 May), Hamburg, Germany (17-19 June), and the final in Lucerne, Switzerland (8-10 July).

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