The Dutch team did it again when they won the second leg in a row in the Top League in St. Gallen today. It was a great day at work for the Van der Vleuten family as both Eric and Maikel had double clears on VDL Groep Utascha Sfn and VDL Groep Verdi.
The Dutch was in the lead already after the first round with one penalty. While USA and home team Switzerland followed on a shared second place on four penalties. France and Great Britain both had eight, while Germany and Belgium had to note13 penalties each. Ireland couldn’t keep up their great results from the previous rounds without their assumably best riders and had 17 penalties. Once again Denmark had some difficulties and counted 27 penalties going in to the second round.
The Dutch team managed to stay on top after two clear rounds from the Van der Vleuten’s and one pole down for Piet Raymakers jr and Van Schijndels Rascin. It was Jur Vrieling and VDL Bubalu who were the the last to go for the Dutch, but as in Rome the last rider didn’t need to ride the second round as the victory was already secured.
Great Britian did a huge climb on the list and ended up second after three clears.Their team this weekend consisted of Tim Stockdale with Fresch Direct Kalico Bay, Robert Sith and Talan, Scott Brash and Intertoy Z and Nick Skelton aboard Carlo.
The home crowd had plenty to be proud of as their team did very well in their biggest test in front of the Europeans in September. Steve Guerdat made a double clear on Jalisca Solier, while Werner Muff and Kiamon had four faults in the first round and then did a clear as well. Janika Sprunger had some more problems with Uptown Boy and counted five and eight faults. Pius Schwizer seems to be on his way back and had two good rounds with Carlina, but they unfortunately had four faults in the second round.
As for France it seems like their on a bad track these days. The team ended up fifth with 20 penalties after Kevin Staut and Kraque Boom got eliminated in the second round. Same goes for Denmark who ended up last for the third time in a row.
Dutch Chef d'Equipe, Rob Ehrens, had the broadest smile. "Our whole team was excellent today!" he said. His plan for the year is working to perfection. Before the first leg of the 2011 FEI Nations Cup at La Baule last month, he said he wanted the Dutch to be super-competitive in the early part of the series so that they would be under less pressure at the latter-end of the season, because the FEI European Championships in Madrid in September are a big target. That has all fallen into place now as they now take over at the head of the FEI Nations Cup leaderboard.
And Eric van der Vleuten was a proud father this evening. "To be on a team like this with my son is very special. It has given me extra motivation - to be honest, I might have quit from the sport a long time ago but for the opportunity to have a great day like this!" he said.
For full results and standings click here.
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