Champions' Happy Hunting Ground in Italy

Artem Silchenko
Scenic Polignano a Mare has proved a fruitful stop for previous champions over the years

Returning for a fifth time to this scenic Italian town, the cliff diving elite will not only leap from a private balcony into a sea of passionate fans from up to 27m, but come back to a place where the champions have been most successful to date. The Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series has produced five overall winners in the men's and women's to date, four of them having won in cliff diving's European home. Two stops into the 2017 season, the standings are tight as the reigning champions both had to let others pass to take victory in the previous stop. Also the wildcard divers are expected to shine with Russia's Artem Silchenko aiming for a record third win in Polignano a Mare and Anna Bader from Germany, who came back with a Portuguese podium after her baby break.

Forced into wildcard status after a difficult 2016 season, Silchenko showed his huge potential with victory in Italy last year and is definitely hot for a third success in his happy hunting ground once he masters his 'hit or miss' entries. Besides the overall World Series champion from 2013, it is Colombian legend Orlando Duque, the winner of the Italy debut in 2009, who is back in the game after celebrating an overdue victory just six days ago in Portugal.

Rhiannan Iffland leaps from the women's platform last season. Photo: Romina Amato/Red Bull Content Pool.

Six-time champion Gary Hunt, in contrast, struggled with the natural terrain of the Azores and doesn't feel on top of his game nursing an injury. As Italy marks the third stop in only five weeks, the podium will be reserved for the fittest on the tour – also in the women's.

A major challenge for reigning rookie champion Rhiannan Iffland from Australia, who didn't make the podium for the first time in nine events with a fifth place in Portugal, as she's dealing with an adductors injury. The women's will anyhow see a new winner in Italy, as none of the previous winners – Rachelle Simpson (USA) and Lysanne Richard (CAN) – will be competing. The top spot is up for grabs and the latest winner, Adriana Jimenez from Mexico, as well as surprise podium finisher Bader, bear the highest chances. The wildcard diver from Germany finished third in her first competition after a baby break.

Fans watch as Orlando Duque dives in the place where houses rise from the rocks in 2016. Photo: Dean Treml/Red Bull Content Pool.

When the cliff divers' take-off spot 27m and 21m above the Adriatic Sea can only be accessed by passing a private living room, the World Series is hosted where houses rise from the cliffs. Thousands of passionate fans will fill up every vantage point to catch a glimpse of the world's best cliff divers in action; amongst them Italian wildcard Alessandro De Rose, who scored his personal best World Series result to date on home soil with a 4th place in 2016.

Watch it Live

The Polignano a Mare event will be LIVE on July 23 from 15.45 local time (13.45 GMT) on www.redbullcliffdiving.com, Red Bull TV and Facebook. Red Bull TV is available on connected TVs, gaming consoles, mobile devices and more. Find out more at about.redbull.tv

If you miss the event or simply want to watch all the action again, the replay will be available on demand a few minutes after the event.

Read and watch more Red Bull Cliff Diving here