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It's a tie for Maikel van der Vleuten and Piergiorgio Bucci at Stephex Masters

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Maikel van der Vleuten and Piergiorgio Buccci both stopped the clock at 36.18 seconds in round two of the Bank Degroof class at the Stephex Masters. Photo by World of Showjumping.

The 1.50 Bank Degroof class at Stephex Masters ended as a tied affair as Maikel van der Vleuten and Piergiorgio Bucci shared the win. The class was in the winning round-format with almost sixty riders in it, and out of these only six went clear over Uliano Vezanni's first round twelve fence track that counted a combination at 4ab and then a triple combination at 7abc – the latter causing trouble for many. The six clear combinations were joined in the second round by six more, one on a time fault and the rest on four penalties.

The first double clear came from Daniel Bluman on Apardi (Corland x Kannan), who blazed around the shortened track in a time of 37.45 seconds after getting a super turn to the penultimate vertical before he raced down the long stretch to the final upright – taking the lead. Cathrine Pasmore – also continuing her great form with a clear in the first round – had the penultimate vertical down on Bonanza van Paemel (Darco x Sheyenne de Baugy) and eventually had fell down on the list behind some of the four-faulters from the round one.

Then it was time for Maikel van der Vleuten who always is a danger against the clock. On his Dutch Champion VDL Groep Eureka (Chin Chin x Quidam de Revel), the Dutch rider went all in from beginning to end – tightening every turn and chasing every fraction in every stride. When he crossed the finish line, Maikel had shaved off 1.27 seconds of Bluman's time. Then the fourth rider with a clear first came into the ring, but Daniel Deusser had to see a rail on the final upright fall to the ground after chasing Maikel's time on the last stretch about Erco van't Roosakker (Darco x Kannan). Eventually it was good enough for fourth.

Last-to-go Piergiorgio Bucci set off in top gear on Casallo Z (Casall x Carthago Z), and it looked like he would be right up there. Being whistled and cheered on down the last line, the Italian rider's time looked very good indeed – and as he stopped the clock it showed exactly the same time as that of Maikel and it was a tied win in Saturday's biggest class at Stephex Masters. Blumann finished third, another great result for the Colombian rider.

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