The Dutch team proved phenomenal in the FEI Nations Cup in Aachen today, and in front of a crowd of 42.000 people they went all the way to the top in this prestigious competition. Jeroen Dubbeldam rode one of only two double clear of the day on BMC Van Grunsven Simon; the other one belonged to runner-ups Germany’s Carsten-Otto Nagel and his superhorse Corradina. On his double clear Jeroen said; "It was a tough course. We walked it this morning, and were nervous all day about it. It was a good thing though, as we kept sharp. It was a long course, so the horses had to be fit to make both rounds." Rob Ehrens was happy about the win and of the conditions he stated that the weather was "not sunny", but that the team "did a good job".
Frank Rothenberger’s track was as tough as expected, and riders got in trouble everywhere. The oxer at fence two, with a plank in the front caused trouble for a lot of the riders though – as did the line from the water down to the combination at 9a and b, where a lot of the horses brought down the back pole of the wide oxer at the b-element after losing rhythm. The last line with an oxer-vertical-oxer also proved influential.
After the first round Great Britain, Germany and France held a joint lead – all on four penalties. Great Britain could take away Nick Skelton’s score of eight penalties on Carlo (Contender x Cascavelle) after clears from Scott Brash on Intertoy Z (Intradel Z x Centauer Z) and Michael Whitaker on GIG Amai (Nonstop x Bacara), and were left with Guy Williams’ four penalties after Titus (Kanjer x Topas) had the vertical at fence four down. Germany had all the support in the world from the home crowd cheering them up and on, but that didn’t help Christian Ahlmann who had the last fence down on Taloubet Z (Galoubet A x Polydor). Janne-Friedrike Meyer’s Cellagon Lambrasco (Libero x Coriolan) only wants to go one way, and that’s forward – which brought the German team a clear round. Carsten-Otto Nagel really had to work with Corradina (Corrado I x Sandro)between the Rolex oxer at fence ten and the vertical at eleven to stay clear, but managed to stay on a zero score much to the appreciation of the home crowd. Ludger and Gotha (Goldfever x Prestige Pilot) came a little too close on the b-element of the triple combination, and it was brought to the ground – leaving the German team at four faults.
France had a strong start with clears from both Penelope Leprevost on Mylord Carthago (Carthago x Jalisco B) and Oliver Guillon on Lord De Theize (Donald Rouge II x Tolbiac Des Halles); Mylord Carthago really showing off his capacity after Penelope brought him into a lovely rhythm. Kevin Staut on Silvana de Hus (Corland x Widor) had the b-element at the last combination down, while it looked like Michel Robert and Kellemoi Pepita (Voltaire x Jalme des Mesnuls) were set for another clear until the back pole of the last oxer was hit and fell to the ground. The Netherlands were close behind on eight penalties though, while Ireland and USA followed on a score of twelve.
The Dutch team rose to the occasion in the second round. Eric van der Vleuten posted a lovely clear on VDL Groep Utascha SFN (Lux Z x Indoctro), and luckily for Jur Vrieling his 17 penalties on VDL Bubalu (Baloubet du Rouet x Nimmerdor) didn’t count when Gerco and Eurocommerce New Orleans (Colbert x Carthago) only had one down on the b-element of the combination and Jeroen Dubbeldam and BMC van Grunsven Simo (Mr. Blue x Polydox) posted their second clear of the day. The team was left with a total of twelve penalties, which was good enough for the win. For Eric's horse Utascha it was her first time in Aachen; "She has been doing really well this year, and been a part of all three winning teams," said Eric.
It was exciting to the bitter end though, and Germany looked set for their second win in a week when Carsten-Otto Nagel rode their second clear of the day, causing so much happiness on Nagel’s side that he threw his helmet in the air. Ludger Beerbaum entered the arena on Gotha as the last German rider to go, and could secure it all. If a pin had dropped, you would have heard it – tension was everywhere. A win was not to be though, as Gotha had the Rolex oxer at fence ten and the last oxer at twelve down – much to the German crowd’s disappointment. The total score for the Germans were left at sixteen penalties; good enough for runner-up position. Afterwards Otto Becker said that he never expected Ludger to have two down, as Gotha has been jumping amazing - but the German coach was still happy with second.
Ireland climbed up the ranks in the second round, after clears from both Shane Sweetnam on Amaretto D’Arco (Darco x Tenor Manciais) and Denis Lynch on All Inclusive NRW (Arpeggio x Phantom). The Irish team joined Germany in second position. Great Britain managed pretty well, but all riders had poles down which left them at twelve penalties in round two and a total of sixteen. It was good enough to join Germany and Ireland in second though.
France was also challengers to take the win, if Michel Robert could do a clear there would have been a jump-off. Kellemoi De Pepita had a tiny foot in the water though, as well as the last fence down and France was left at twenty penalties.
Belgium had a disastrous day after Rik Hemeryck got eliminated in the second round, and Jos Lansink decided to withdraw Valentina van het Heike after poles down in the second round as well. The team ended up at the bottom at the list. USA ended up on 32 penalties, and Demark on 85.
Today's result means that Holland is still rank one on the FEI Top League leader board with 39,5 points. Ireland is second on 30, and Germany third on 27. Great Britain follows on 25, France on 22, Belgium on 21, USA on 18.5 and Denmark is last on seven points.
For full results click here.
Results from the other classes on Thursday, can be found here.
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