Triple Olympic gold medallist Sebastian Brendel admits he is ‘underdone’ heading into this weekend’s second ICF Canoe Sprint World Cup in Duisburg, but that hasn’t stopped the big German from putting his hand up to answer a last-minute SOS to join a C2 boat.

Despite winning C2 1000 gold in Rio, Brendel has hardly set foot in a the smaller team boat since, and wasn’t planning to this year.

But when teammate Conrad Scheibner was struck down with illness this week, leaving his C2 partner Michael Muller high and dry, Brendel was quick to jump in.

“It’s always fun, it’s good to change boats to make experience in the team boat,” Brendel said.

“I think after two days training we have a good combination.”

Which is potentially bad news for fellow Germans Yul Oeltze and Peter Kretschmer, C2 1000 world champions last year but now facing the prospect of taking on the best C1 1000 paddler on the planet at least 12 months earlier than they had hoped.

But such is life when you are a canoe sprint paddler in Germany, where there is so much depth in almost every event that the bucket is always overflowing.

“We have very strong national competitors, and I think it makes us stronger,” Kretschmer said.

“When you are the best in Germany, you will probably win a medal. If you are not, then you have to train for another year, and try and be the best again.”

Though it might be a good weekend to take the eight-time world champion on, with Brendel admitting on race eve that, like last year, he is beginning the season below his best.

It means he will have his work cut out to top the podium in the C1 1000, where both the men who chased Brendel home in last year’s World Championships are waiting for him.

Czech Martin Fuksa, silver medallist last year, showed he is in good form with a cracking win in Szeged last week, while Brazilian Olympic silver medallist, Isaquias Queiroz, has arrived in Germany looking fit and relaxed.

“I know that I’m not in the best shape now, but it is the first test now and it is a long way to the World Championships, so we have some more time,” Brendel said.

“The first three from the podium last year are here, but it’s very early in the season. We have the Europeans in two weeks time, and then the worlds at the end of August.

“The worlds are definitely the most important event this year.”

The second 2018 ICF Canoe Sprint World Cup begins in Duisburg, Germany, at 830am local time Friday, and runs through until Sunday.

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