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Aussies fire warning shot to Hodge's crew
11:08pm Wednesday 20th June 2012 in Sport
Hebden’s Andy Hodge knows he faces a tough battle if he is to secure a second Olympic gold medal in London next month.
He was rowing at stroke as the GB men’s four suffered defeat to their deadly rivals Australia in the final World Cup meeting of the year at Munich on Sunday.
Hodge, Pete Reed, Tom James and Alex Gregory know they have a huge burden of expectancy weighing on their shoulders.
Great Britain have taken gold in the men’s fours in the past three Olympics.
It is the event made famous by Sir Steve Redgrave, Sir Matthew Pinsent and James Cracknell, and now Hodge and his colleagues know they have a real fight on their hands when they take to the water for the Olympic showdown at Eton Dorney.
Great Britain won the first World Cup meeting in Belgrade when the Aussies were absent, and just beat them in Lucerne last month.
But Australia’s impressive crew of William Lockwood, James Chapman, Drew Ginn and Joshua Dunkley-Smith dominated in Munich.
They beat the Great Britain crew comfortably in the semi-finals and then repeated their success in the battle for the gold medal.
They took charge at the halfway stage and Great Britain were unable to fight back.
Hodge said: “We found a different rhythm today and that was a lot better.
“I think we have learnt a lot here and we can take that away to training camp in the next six weeks.”
His crewmate Alex Gregory added: “Ninety nine per cent of the race was so much better than our semi, where they got a long way ahead of us.
“Today we held on a lot better. I think where we need to improve is our cruising speed, and our ability to change that cruising speed when we need to, but I’m very, very pleased and positive about that race.”
Britain’s greatest rower Sir Stephen Redgrave watched the race.
He believes the GB crew can turn things around .
He said: “I'm not that shocked, I thought the Aussies looked really good three weeks ago.
“It’s very, very close to call and it can go either way over the next five weeks.
“They have to get in their minds how they're going to row that race. It’s the second and third 500s where the Australians are killing our guy.
“They’ve got to be more in the race in that middle period.
“They’ve got to be more determined, more gutsy, to stay in there.”