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Girl power in Battle of the Sexes at the Gucci Paris Masters with Leprevost, Hough and Offel on top

Saturday, 06 December 2014

Unbeatable; Penelope Leprevost on Flora de Mariposa. Photo by (c) Tiffany Van Halle.The girls pushed the boys aside in tonight's Battle of the Sexes at the Gucci Paris Masters, as Penelope Leprevost won, Lauren Hough ended second and Katharina Offel third. The three girls made history, as it was the first time this has ever happened. With four girls and seven boys going clear in the first round of this 1.55 class, to move on to the second one – the lady riders had a tough task though. But with fighting spirit and some serious fast riding they still managed to push the boys to the side.

Katharina Offel was the second rider in the ring for round two, and the first one to produce another clear round. The Ukrainian rider's round rode much faster than it looked, and when she crossed the finish line on Quebracho Semilly (Le Tot de Semilly x Eiken des Fontenis) the clock showed 44.11 seconds.

Like Gregory Wathelet - who opened the second round, Constant van Paesschen and Jos Verlooy both had to see poles fall and the boys chances of winning suddenly looked slimmer. Martin Fuchs gave it a good go on Clooney 51 (Cornet Obolensky x Ferragamo) though, but got some steering problems to the Landrover vertical and lost a little time to slot in behind Offel on 45.51 seconds. Two more boys had to see rails fall; Alberto Michan and Kevin Staut, and with only Maikel van der Vleuten to go for the men it was all down to the Dutch rider.

Lucy Davis also did a strong performance for the female riders, and was clear again on Cassis 54 (Candidatus x Landadel) going in behind Offel and Fuchs. Maikel van der Vleuten's VDL Groep Sapphire B (Mr. Blue x Grand Veneur SF) surprised all when she slammed on the breaks into the combination though, leaving the boys out of the contest for the win. The door was left open for the girls to claim the podium, and so they did.

The pink flags that the crowds were given to cheer for the girls almost became like a flying carpet above the heads on the packed stands as Penelope entered the ring on Flora de Mariposa (For Pleasure x Power Light). The French rider was not going to miss a home win, and it was evident from the start that she was serious about taking the victory. With her usual style and precision, Penelope rode a perfect round cutting off almost three seconds on Offel's time to wild cheers from the Paris crowd. Lauren Hough tried her best to catch up with Penelope, but had to settle for second after another great clear on Royalty des Isles (Zandor Z) 0.10 seconds behind on the clock contributing to an all female podium in Paris.

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