ROWING WORLD CUP: British four smash world best in statement of intent
GREAT Britain's new-look men's four stormed to a new world best time at the Rowing World Cup in Lucerne - urged all the way by Olympic legend Matthew Pinsent.
Pinsent had expressed some concern about their first race together in Belgrade earlier this month, even though they won.
But as Pete Reed, Andy Triggs Hodge, Tom James and Alex Gregory surged to victory, their rivals certainly knew the extent of their London 2012 ambition.
The British crew clocked 5:37.86 for the 2,000m course, smashing the previous best of 5:41.36, set by Germany at the 2002 World Championships.
“We set out to win our heat and we didn’t want to hide away from hard work, even in a heat," said James.
“The world best time is nice but we’re here to beat people and to put in that kind of performance consistently."
Pinsent has hailed the contribution to the crew of James, who won Olympic gold in Beijing before taking a two-year break from the sport that only ended 12 months ago.
“Tom James has been amazing," he said.
"If you told me two years ago that Tom was going to be in the top boat for the Olympics I would have told you that I didn't think he would be.
"And if you told me six months ago I would have still said no way.
“But he has done it, which is incredible. I think he brings a lot to that crew, he really does. He is a very rhythmical, very technical guy and he is good for our medal prospects.
"They won in Belgrade but I certainly didn't think it was a Olympic gold medal performance. It was a solid start and they've obviously got great potential. They'll be delighted to lay down a marker in Lucerne."
Elsewhere, world champions Anna Watkins and Katherine Grainger were comfortable qualifiers to Sunday's double sculls final while Olympic champions Zac Purchase and Mark Hunter appeared to be pacing themselves when they finished second in their lightweight double sculls heat.
Helen Glover and Heather Stanning, who won gold in the women's pair in Belgrade, were comfortable winners but there was disappointment for the men’s eight - who were third behind Canada and Poland – and must now race in a repechage.
© Sportsbeat 2012