Two years ago, Christopher Linke celebrated gold at the European Race Walking Cup in Murcia as part of the triumphant German team and in less than a month, he will be eyeing individual success as he returns to one of the biggest events on the calendar.
Podebrady, to the east of Prague in the Czech Republic, is the setting for this year’s European Race Walking Cup and Linke is heading there on 21 May as not only the fastest man in Europe, but with experience of the course itself.
It was in Podebrady only 19 days ago that Linke, 28, produced a 20km personal best of 1:18:59.
He is the only European to dip under 1:20 this year and will be part of a German team of 14 for this major stepping stone towards the IAAF World Championships in London in August.
World and European 20km walk champion Miguel Angel Lopez from Spain is set to defend his crown from Murcia - Linke was seventh in the individual race - Olympic and world 50km champion Matej Toth from Slovakia has opted for the shorter distance in Podebrady.
The rest of the field know how strong Linke is. He proved that in Rio last summer when he was Europe's leading man in the 20km walk where he finished fifth.
Linke will also face strong opposition from within as he is joined in the event by Hagen Pohle. He was 12th in Murcia, one place in front of Carl Dohmann, and along with Linke, they won team gold with 32 points from Russia (35) and Ukraine (37).
Dohmann is competing in the 50km in Podebrady after the team was selected following the German Race Walking Championships in Naumburg.
Nils Brembach and Jonathan Hilbert complete the men’s 20km line-up while Karl Junghann and Nathaniel Seiler are in the 50km squad.
Germany has one senior woman competing, national 20km champion Emilia Lehmeyer, who was eighth in Podebrady in April. This race will give her a good indication of her form heading towards the European U23 Championships in Bydgoszcz in July.
In the U20 events over 10km, Germany’s men team is Leo Kopp, Johannes Frenzl and Jan Stramka while the women’s team is Teresa Zurek, Julia Richter and Julia Henze.