A dark cloud hangs over the New Zealand rowing squad's final serious hitout ahead of the London Olympics in Munich this weekend.
Five-time world single sculling champion Mahe Drysdale had reportedly been hit by a car while out riding his cycle ahead of the weekend's final World Cup regatta in Munich which will get under way late tonight (NZ time).
Drysdale, who was dogged by illness at the 2008 Beijing Olympics where he picked up a disappointing bronze medal, was an unlikely starter for the weekend's regattas as the seriousness of his injury was assessed.
He injured his shoulder in the accident and indications were he was to have an MRI scan to assess damage.
Initial reports indicate the injury will not seriously impact his Olympic campaign, but nevertheless it's a worrying obstacle for Drysdale who would have been hoping to have left his bad luck behind.
Drysdale, who is favoured to win the elusive gold in London, has already had to overcome a serious back injury since Beijing -- a problem, ironically, that forces him to split his training workload between rowing and cycling.
The champion Kiwi sculler's daily workload usually sees him do a session in the morning on the water, and go for a long, hard cycle in the afternoon to ease the stress on his back.
The other big interest for the Kiwi contingent this weekend in Munich will centre on two-time world champion double-scullers Nathan Cohen and
Joseph Sullivan who hit a major speed bump in the first World Cup regatta in Lucerne where they could only finish at the back of the field in the B final.
At the time squad officials put the double's shaky first hitout down to "technical" problems, and there has been a lot of work put in with coach Calvin Ferguson in the meantime addressing that.
The proof will be in the pudding this weekend if the classy double scull combination has been able to find the answers they were seeking. It's not imperative, but a confidence-booster ahead of London will be a high priority..
The rest of the Kiwi squad will be chasing quality hitouts in their last major pre-Olympic shakedown.
The uber-dominant pair of Eric Murray and Hamish Bond are not expected to have any problems keeping intact their perfect record at World Cup level since Beijing, while other medal prospects for London such as the women's pair (Juliette Haigh and Rebecca Scown), lightweight double (Storm Uru and Peter Taylor) and women's single sculler Emma Twigg will be looking for strong showings.
Others on the cusp, such as double-scullers Fi Paterson and Ann Reymer and the lightweight double of Louise Ayling and Julia Edward, will also be keen to keep their momentum heading in the right direction.
It will also be an important regatta for the promising women's quad scull who finished a useful fourth in Lucerne even with two reserves in the boat.. They should be back at full strength this weekend.
Completing the New Zealand lineup this weekend will be the men's quad scull and men's four -- both of whom are needing to make serious moves ahead of London