It was a spectacular finale to a three day festival of showjumping, as the Global Champions League of Cannes took place under the spotlights in the beautiful French Riviera destination. The eighth round of competition in the 2016 series saw the twelve teams battling it out in front of packed grandstands and it was Monaco Aces that was the only team to stay clear all the way through.
The squad have proved consistent all season, securing two podium places already however had yet to reach the elusive top spot of the podium. Represented this weekend by the experienced Dutch duo of Maikel van der Vleuten riding VDL Groep Quatro (Quaprice Boimargot Quincy x Caletto I), and Leopold van Asten on VDL Groep Miss Untouchable (Chacco-Blue x Aldatus) the pair triumphed with the only two double clears of the competition.
The team now sits on a tally of 190 points overall, six points clear of former leaders Valkenswaard United, and 10 points clear of the Rome Gladiators who currently have 180 points overall. The pressure mounts for the Monaco Aces' to maintain their top spot on the leaderboard as they head to the next leg of the series and their home event.
“Of course, if you know you have to do a clear round it gives you a bit of pressure,” said Maikel, who delivered one of the winning rounds. “Tonight was exciting under the lights. Now the win is there, we are all happy.” Teammate Leopold talked about the intensity of the competition and the pressure of riding in a team : “I was getting very nervous – I prefer to ride than to watch!”
Finishing second on Saturday night on the second successive leg on French soil were the Paris Jets’ Olivier Philippaerts with H&M Challenge v. Begijnakker (Chellano Z x Palestro v. Begijnakker) and Gregory Wathelet with Coree (Cornet Obolensky x Liberty Life) who finished on a team total of eight. Both riders opened with clears but returned with four-fault rounds. Third with 13 faults combined were the Cascais Charms’ duo of David Will with Quincy (Quality x Lordanos) and Pilar Cordon with Lennox Luis (Levisto x Preussenulan) with the result putting the team up to sixth overall.
"I know Maikel and the horse very well so you try to help them as much as possible, not that he really needs it! But I tried to tell him where on the course it was difficult and where he needed to pay a little bit more attention. Today it worked out very well. You need decent horses to jump these courses and we both did today, and with the luck on your side, you can win," said Leopold van Asten after the win.
Source: Press release from GCL // Picture © Stefano Grasso/GCL
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