At 2.15pm sharp, the starting signal for the fifth edition of Red Bull XRow was given in the lake basin of Zug, Switzerland. From the internationally high-ranking starter field, the defending champions, the for once expanded Swiss coxless four, winners of Olympic gold, took the lead from the very beginning. The lightweight four teM with Mario Gyr and Simon Schürch plus their colleagues never gave up their leading position until the finish line on the Jesuitenplatz in Lucerne. On stretches across dry land, the athletes had to carry their boats weighing more than a hundred kilos on their shoulders.
„It was brutally tough“, an obviously exhausted Simon Schürch stated after having crossed the finish line, adding: „On the first of the dry land stretches, we ran as if we didn't have a boat on our shoulders. On the steep hill towards the Hohle Gasse we were suffering the most, but it was then that we were able to decide the race."
Martino Goretti from Italy agreed: „They were killing us on that first running stretch. We had trouble carrying our boat. On the second dry land stretch, we changed positions.This made things somewhat better, but by then, the Swiss team had gotten out of reach. Although we had wanted to win, we are content and it was great fun being part of that race" stated the captain of a multi-national team of world class rowers who had already lost to the Swiss in Rio.
The Swiss: Over the moon and celebrating their team effort
„Today, I was almost more nervous than before the Olympic final“, joked Simon Schürch, who, according to his own statement, had mainly worked out in alternative sports such as swimming and jogging during the past few weeks. „Frankly, I wasn't overly keen on rowing. But after today's race, I have to say that it's still lots of fun!" Mario Gyr, equally happy, added: "It was quite simply epic to experience this as a team. Everybody was fighting for everybody else. This is precisely why we pursue high-performance sport."
„Dukla Prag Scullers“ from The Czech Republic ended up third. The Germand team "RAW/BRC Wannsee" retained the upper hand in the duel of the junior teams and defeated the Swiss juniors of the Seeclub Zurich. The "Swiss Ladies" won the competition among the three all-female teams.
Through the Hohle Gasse with a rowboat
The race took the rowers from Zug to Immensee and on through the Hohle Gasse to Küssnacht am Rigi. The racing stretch continued across the Vierwaldstättersee on to Meggen and Ober Rebstock. After the last water stretch, the athletes reached the finish line at the Jesu-itenplatz in Lucerne. The 24 teams had to cover 20 kilometers on water and seven on dry land.
Ranking table Men’s Elite
1. Switzerland Selection
2. Unlimited 8
3. Dukla Prag Scullers
5. Seeclub Zurich