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The big duel: Philippe Guerdat and Robert Ridland announce their teams for the return match of the Riders Masters Cup in New York

Friday, 27 April 2018
CSI5* Longines Masters New York 2018

Photo (c) R&B Presse It's all set for the Riders Masters Cup of New York. Photo (c) R&B Presse.

Two weeks after the individual confrontation of the Longines FEI World Cup Final in Paris, the United States and Europe will once again oppose in a thrilling battle —  this time in New York with teams for the Riders Masters Cup. 

The Riders Masters Cup is aimed to become a major competition, not only for showjumping, but also for world sport. On Thursday night, the two Chefs d'Equipe, Philippe Guerdat (#Riders Europe) and Robert Ridland (#Riders USA), unveiled their final selections for this return match between the two major powers of showjumping.

The competition is young having made its debut in Paris at the end of last year, but already looks set for a great future, thanks to the team spirit and the domination of these two powerhouses of showjumping that normally see epic confrontations individually.

Christophe Ameeuw and his team at EEM gave birth to this new competition in collaboration with the EEF (European Equestrian Federation) and with the support of Longines as Founding Partner. The Riders Masters Cup was launched in Paris last December with a first match won by the #Riders Europe, but most importantly, like Pierre Durand — the Ambassador of this Riders Masters Cup — underlined, put team spirit in an otherwise individual sport: "This continental challenge rehabilitates the team events at a time when the Nations Cups are inadequately protected and valued," said the Seoul Olympic gold medallist. "Yet the team means "we" before "I".  The Riders Masters Cup is a good thing as it promotes the collective interest rather than the individual one. It provides a spirit of sharing, solidarity and mutual help. It seals a unifying pact. It simply carries beautiful transcending values."

This great competition is of course bound to grow, and on the model of tennis team events like the Davis Cup or the Fed Cup, it has adopted a format of one-on-one meetings in two rounds: "The duel notion with a challenge background is the strong suit," explained Pierre Durand. "In the increasingly standardized events of international competition programmes, riders never really compete one against the other. Yet, the continents challenge is based on battles. The team captains can develop strategies as well as some coaching. Head-to-head battles are set up, from which emerge a winner and a looser. The audience vibrates more and can clearly choose its side, electrifying the atmosphere. It creates tension, excitement. Maybe even excessive cheering! You are for one, against the other. The competition's emotional flavour is therefore significantly enhanced."

After the clear dominance of the United States at the recent Longines FEI World Cup Finals in Paris, where the US had three riders among the top five, Robert Ridland has good reason to be confident. He selected his team mainly from those who competed in Paris: Beezie Madden and McLain Ward (the last two winners of the Longines FEI World Cup Finals) who will play alongside the experienced Olympic team champion Laura Kraut, New York rider Georgina Bloomberg and the young Adrienne Sternlicht in U25. 

"We are very strong and this time, we should get there," Ridland ensures. And this is something Philippe Guerdat does not want to hear. He selected the man who is in great form at the moment, world no. 2 Harrie Smolders, he will also add French Olympic Champion Kevin Staut, Olympic Vice Champion and Swedish European Champion Peder Fredricson, the winner of the Grand Prix in Aachen Gregory Wathelet and Olivier Philippaerts as his U25 rider who has already won major Grand Prix classes like in Calgary. "A team that intends to keep the trophy that we won in Paris," promises the Captain of #RidersEurope Philippe Guerdat. The battle will certainly be bitter and exciting.

As for Pierre Durand, he will not be in New York to follow the competition. Even if Pierre Durand is not in New York to assist, he will be commenting on the competition live from Paris from the beIN Sports studios (the night from Saturday to Sunday at 2:55 am on BeIN Sports 1, replay in the morning). Also to follow live on EEM.TV (Saturday, April 28: 20:55), on Eurosport (Sunday, April 29 at 10:00) and in North America on CBS offline (Sunday, April 29 from 16:00 to 18:00, local time East Coast USA (ET).


Source: Press release from Longines Masters of New York // Picture © R&B Presse

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