Previous form is expected to count for little when some of the biggest names in world canoe sprint racing line up for the Pre Super Cup and the Canoe Sprint Super Cup Series starting next week in China and Russia.

The men’s K1 will see the last two 1000 metre world champions taking on an Olympic 200 metre silver medallist and an U23 200 metre world champion.

Germany’s Tom Liebscher took the K1 1000 world title in 2017, and this year Portugal’s Fernando Pimenta took the crown in front of an ecstatic home crowd.

But Frenchman Maxime Beaumont, the reigning Olympic K1 200 silver medallist, has been dabbling in the longer races as part of a K2 1000 team this year.

His first love though remains the shorter sprint, and along with 2017 U23 K1 200 world champion, Marko Dragosavljevic, the early speed in the 350 metre race will be lightning fast.

Throw in Spain’s Roi Rodriguez, a World Cup gold medallist over 500 metres this year and a 2015 U23 K1 1000 World Champion, and the scene is set for an epic showdown.

The women’s K1 350 is looming as an exciting battle between Poland’s Marta Walczykiewicz and Belarus’s Volha Khudzenka, but the race has plenty of potential winners.

Rio 2016 and five-time World Championship silver medallist Walczykiewicz has shown consistently she has electric speed over the shortest course, but the untested 350 metres will throw the race wide open .

Belarus’s Khudzenka won the K1 500 world title in 2017, and then followed up with a bronze medal at this year’s World Championships, beaten only by canoe sprint legends Danuta Kozak and Lisa Carrington.

Sweden’s Linnea Stensils is the reigning K1 200 World Championship bronze medallist, Australia’s Alyce Burnett a 2017 K1 1000 World Champion, and New Zealand’s Caitlin Ryan is a K2 500 World Championship gold and silver medallist.

Add to the mix Hungary’s Dora Lucz, the 2017 K1 200 European champion and 2016 K1 200 and 500 U23 world champion, and France’s 2013 U23 K1 500 world champion, Sarah Guyot, and picking an overall winner suddenly becomes more challenging.

The Pre-Super Cup will be contested in Linyi, China, on September 18, with the Canoe Sprint Super Cup in Barnaul, Russia, on September 21-22.

Coming soon – a preview of the men’s and women’s canoe events.

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