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TRIGGS HODGE PREDICTS FOUR GLORY

4th April 2012, 05:16pm

Andy Triggs Hodge: Excited by Olympic project

Andy Triggs Hodge: Excited by Olympic project

Andy Triggs Hodge declared Great Britain's new-look men's four is so "astonishingly" fast, they could turn up on the day of the Olympic final with no preparation and still challenge for a gold medal.

And with four months of unbroken training and racing ahead of them, Hodge believes there will not be a crew in the world to match Britain's flagship boat.

It was confirmed on Wednesday that Hodge and Pete Reed will move from the pair back to the men's four and defend their 2008 Olympic title alongside Alex Gregory and either Tom James or Alex Partridge.

The final make-up of the crew will be announced before the opening World Cup regatta of the season in Belgrade, which starts on May 4.

"Our Beijing boat was only together for six weeks in total. We had very little time together, just because of illness and injury, (and still won gold)," Hodge said.

"I just think about how fast this boat can go with no training together. During seat racing, it went astonishingly fast.

"I mean everyone was like, 'Oh my God'. That's what's so exciting.

"Part of me thinks we can get together on the day and we will be a formidable force. Give us a couple of weeks, we can be electric.

"If we can have a clean run from here, I'll be damned if anyone is going to beat us or come close. It's a very exciting project."

Grobler's decision to move Hodge and Reed from the pair meant breaking up the men's four crew that won gold for Britain at the 2011 World Championships.

But the motivation was to maximise Britain's chances of Olympics gold - and strengthening the men's four has had the knock-on effect of also strengthening the eight.

Ric Egington and Matthew Langridge have moved boats and they will be joined by either James, an Olympic champion, or Partridge, a world champion.

The eight also features Constantine Louloudis, an Oxford undergraduate who will stroke the boat and is 20 years younger than his comeback crew-mate Greg Searle, a 1992 Olympic champion.

"We have the strongest team ever," said Grobler, who has guided the British men's four to gold at the last three Olympic Games.

Partridge, who missed out on the 2004 Olympics with a punctured lung, is frustrated that Grobler has still not decided on the final seat in the boat.

Officially, Grobler is reserving judgment because a bout of illness in recent weeks has prevented the four from taking the water but Partridge believes he has earned his place.

"I feel I have done more than enough. I don't know what more I can do," Partridge said.

"Tom has won an Olympic gold medal and a world championship. I lost one race in three years and another world championship. Who has the better record?

"The only reason I feel I want to be in the four is I feel I have done everything I can. I don't feel I could have done any more this year.

"If I am not in the four and I am in the eight, it will be brilliant. The eight is stacked and it would be awesome to take the rest of the world on with that calibre of crew.

"My frustration is that I don't know what boat I am in and I am getting a little bit fed up like that."

Although this squad is for the first of the three World Cup regattas, GB Rowing performance director David Tanner confirmed it will be the basis for Olympic selection.

In total, Britain have changed 10 of the 14 Olympic class crews from last year's world championships.

One other knock-on effect of Hodge and Reed moving is that Britain will field a promising young pair in world Under-23 medallists Will Satch and George Nash.

Sam Townsend and Bill Lucas will team up in the double scull, with Matt Wells and Marcus Bateman moving into contention for the quad along with Charles Cousins, Stephen Rowbotham and Tom Solesbury.

The women's quad scull consists of 2004 and 2008 Olympic silver medallist Frances Houghton along with Beth Rodford, Mel Wilson and Vicky Thornley.

Brothers Richard and Peter Chambers have been named in the lightweight men's four along with Rob Williams and Chris Bartley.

Alan Campbell decided to continue in the single scull while Zac Purchase and Mark Hunter are set to defend their Olympic title in lightweight double scull.

World champion double scull Katherine Grainger and Anna Watkins will lead Britain's assault for a first Olympic gold in women's rowing.

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