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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