MATTHEW Langridge, a medal-winner at the past two Olympic Games, is to race in Great Britain’s colours for the first time this year next week.
The Northwich-born rower, who missed last month’s European Championships while he recovered from a long-term injury, has been named in the squad for the season’s second World Cup in France.
He is part of a men’s eight crew that boasts four changes from the line-up that finished third in Belgrade.
Langridge, plus fellow Leander Club member Alan Sinclair and University of London Boat Club’s Nathaniel O’Donnell, are new to the boat from then.
They will be coxed by Henry Fieldman, who stands in for world champion Phelan Hill.
Langridge, 31, has spent extra time training after discovering damage to discs in his back and neck in January.
He travelled to Serbia, but as a spare.
The former Northwich Rowing Club member also missed the senior team trials in April to focus on improving his fitness.
“It’s been the longest time I’ve had to stop rowing completely,” he said last month.
“The injury was pretty serious; I had surgery, then a series of injections to correct the problem.
“I’m feeling better now though, and have set some fast times in training.”
He returns to the eight, a boat in which he won a bronze medal at London 2012, after racing last season in a double scull with Bill Lucas.
The duo finished seventh at the world championships in South Korea.
“Once again we’re fielding a strong squad,” said Sir David Tanner, GB Rowing’s performance director.
“But it’s one in which we’ll try out young rowers and new combinations.
“This is a critical year in the Olympic cycle, so we’re aiming to tease out our longer-term strengths as well as winning medals.”
The regatta, at Lake Aiguebelette, starts on Friday week.
Heats for the men’s eight are scheduled for the same day.