Dutch deliver their second team Jumping championship title in thrilling final at Caen 

5 Sep 2014

 

By Louise Parkes

The Netherlands took their second world Jumping championship team title in style today at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2014 in Normandy. They benefitted from the lead they established in yesterday’s round to narrowly pip the host nation of France at the end of a nail-biting contest, while the USA took bronze.

Germany missed out on a podium placing by just 0.1 of a penalty point when finishing fourth and Sweden snatched the last of the five Olympic qualifying spots on offer when lining up sixth behind Brazil. The team representing the country that will play host in two years’ time is automatically qualified for Rio 2016, but this afternoon the Brazilians showed that they are likely to be a force to be reckoned with when the world arrives on their doorstep.

Today however was all about the Dutch, who previously scooped the world team title at Aachen (GER) in 2006. And two of the riders from that victorious side - Jeroen Dubbeldam and Gerco Schroder - once again played a pivotal role in the history-making result.

No walk in the park

It was no walk in the park however, as three of the four Dutch team-members faulted this afternoon. The man who actually clinched the title for them was Jur Vrieling, who produced one of just 14 clear rounds over another of Frederic Cottier’s fantastic courses. Lying ninth and 10th, Colombia and Ukraine disappeared from the reckoning, but the remaining eight teams were locked in combat for both the championship medals and Olympic places. 

The Dutch didn’t get off to the perfect start when Dubbeldam’s Zenith SFN kicked out the middle element of the triple combination, which saw plenty of action throughout the day. Team-mate, Maikel van der Vleuten, made it all the way to the final oxer with VDL Groep Verdi only to leave that on the floor.

The line from the opening vertical to the Land Rover oxer at fence two proved the bogey of the competition as, time after time, riders curved around the final element of the triple combination on the approach to the second fence only to kick out the front pole. In all, 10 of the 57 starters left this one on the floor, which didn’t give them the best start to their tour of the 13-fence track.

Triple combination

The vertical at three was followed by an oxer at four and another vertical at five before riders swung right-handed to an oxer at six, followed by the Alltech triple combination. This vertical to oxer to vertical challenge jumped really well in the early stages of the competition, with five clears from the first tranche of riders who were battling it out for individual placings. 

Second to go, Austria’s Stefanie Bistan and Bogegaardens Apollonia produced a copybook run and Morocco’s Abdelkebir Ouaddar and Quickly de Kreisker followed suit, but only nine of the team riders conquered both the course and the clock, and the time-allowed of 80 seconds proved difficult for many to get.

The oxer at eight was followed by a vertical at nine and then a long run down to a flimsy vertical over water at 10. Then it was right-handed to a double of verticals, before turning back towards the arena entrance over the Eiffel Tower vertical and the final oxer, which celebrated the emblematic Normande cow.

Lead changing regularly

It was nip-and-tuck all the way, with the lead changing regularly and no clear confirmation of the medal placings until the closing stages.

Lying in silver medal position overnight, America’s McLain Ward (Rothchild), Kent Farrington (Voyeur) and Lucy Davis (Barron) all faulted just once, but anchor rider Beezie Madden saved the day with a spectacular clear from Cortes C that pulled them right back into contention.

Germany also only produced only a single clear round. Lying in bronze medal spot, it was looking really good for the defending world champions when Christian Ahlmann led the way with a fault-free run from Codex One, but Marcus Ehning’s Cornado NRW sliced through the penultimate vertical, Daniel Deusser’s Cornet D’Amour clipped the middle element of the triple combination and Ludger Beerbaum’s Chiara fell victim to the oxer at fence two, so they had to add eight faults to their running score line.  

Meanwhile the fourth-placed French, determined to put on the best possible show in front of their home crowd, battled gamely and clears from Penelope Leprevost (Flora de Mariposa) and Kevin Staut (Reveur de Hurtebise) saw them overtake the Americans and push the Germans down to fourth when all they had to add was one of the four faults from pathfinder Simon Delestre (Qlassic Bois Margot) and anchorman Patrice Delaveau (Orient Express HDC).  

For the second day in a row the Brazilians were really impressive when also having to add only four to their tally because both their young star, Marlon Zanotelli (AD Clouwni), and 1998 individual world Jumping champion Rodrigo Pessoa (Status) kept a clean sheet.

Rolf-Goran Bengtsson’s clear with Casall ASK meant that all the Swedish team had to add was a total of five faults to claim the final slot for Rio, but it was heart-break for the Irish. They fought valiantly but, lying seventh, remained there when forced to also add five despite a superb clear from Denis Lynch and All Star. The Canadians meanwhile lined up eighth with a final score of 31.00.

Intensity

The Netherlands’ Jeroen Dubbeldam described the intensity of the afternoon. “The pressure was really on and I think every rider felt it today, we all had little mistakes everywhere and it was good that we were in the lead yesterday because if you are in the lead, and everyone does the same thing, then you stay in the lead!” he said. 
“I had one fault and one time fault and you know you cannot afford any more mistakes, and Maikel came second and had also a mistake and then it gets exciting and you think maybe it’s getting out of hand, but Jur brought us back into the game!”
 
Like all the Dutch riders, and their proud and popular Chef d’Equipe Rob Ehrens, 2000 Olympic champion, Dubbeldam was thrilled with the result. “Holland has proven that we are really a strong country, it’s now the second time we are world champions. We were second at the Olympic Games (London 2012) and we won Olympic gold once before with the team, so it shows we are a strong country. We have a really, really great team with some top jockeys with some good horses and super owners behind us, so that gives us a fantastic base to work from.”
 
Rob Ehrens commented: “today we had another excellent course, my compliments to the course designer, the teams all stayed really close. When our first rider made one tiny mistake and one time penalty and then our second rider had four faults it wasn’t easy for me, the coach, my heart was going up and down! But when you have good spirit in your team you can achieve anything.”

 

French Chef d’Equipe, Philippe Guerdat, said he was very satisfied with the silver medals. “It was a big day for the sport in France, everyone wants to be at their best in front of the home crowd but it was very difficult. It was a tough day, but we knew it was possible to go up (the leaderboard) and all of my riders were part of taking this second place and I’m very proud of them”. Penelope Leprevost described riding into the arena today as being “like entering a boiling cauldron - I’m not sure I will ever experience anything like it again!” she said.
 
What we came here for
 
“A medal is what we came here for,” said American Chef d’Equipe Robert Ridland. “We believe this is one of the top teams we have ever fielded and we had a great lead-up to coming here, we had great confidence and we gave it our all.” And he has extra reason to be pleased because Beezie Madden now heads the individual rankings going into Saturday’s two-round competition from which the top four will qualify for Sunday’s individual final. In the 61-year history of the individual world Jumping championship, an American rider has never won gold.  
 
Madden has Sweden’s Bengtsson in hot pursui,t while Denmark’s Soren Pedersen has quietly made it all the way up to third place thanks to another brilliant performance today from Tailormade Esperanze de Rebel. 
 
A single mistake today has dropped Frenchman Patrice Delaveau from first to fourth, but there is less than a fence between the leading four and only a whisper separating them from Brazil’s Pessoa in fifth, Belgium’s Gregory Wathelet in sixth, team silver medallist Leprevost in seventh and Germany’s Daniel Deusser in eighth place.  
 
Individual leader, Madden, said tonight she has always believed in her horse, Cortes C. He has championship scope and the right attitude - all the best qualities” she pointed out. Keeping her nerve on Saturday shouldn’t be a problem. She said she enjoyed going into today’s pressure round which clinched the medal for her side. 
 
“As I was going down the ramp to go in the ring Ludger (Beerbaum) had one down and they said yeah, for sure we have a chance of a medal now so it was kind of inspiring.” The only question is whether Cortes C is fit enough because Madden was out of action for some time earlier in the year after breaking her collarbone. “That will probably be the big question this week because since I was injured in the spring he hasn’t done a whole lot and when I did show him in Hickstead and Dublin he looked so fantastic, coming out fresh like that, so we didn’t do anything with him since. I’ve done a lot of work getting him fit at home, riding him several times a day, but whether he’s show-ring fit or not we’ll have to wait and see.”
 
He’ll certainly have to be at the top of his game to stay out in front, but first there is a rest day following a long night of celebrations for the Dutch, who were presented with their gold medals by Mr Toni Khoury, IOC member for Lebanon and a member of the FEI Olympic Council, in front of the enthusiastic crowd who have been widely praised for their fantastic enthusiasm over the last 10 days of competition.
 
Brazil’s Rodrigo Pessoa paid tribute to them today. “They’ve been unbelievable, they’ve been cheering for everybody. It’s been long days, long hours watching horses doing the same thing but they’ve been great. The atmosphere in the stadium is really boiling”.  
 
And the temperature will be even hotter in two days’ time as the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2014 Jumping championship reaches a crescendo.
 
Results:
Team Jumping Final: GOLD – Netherlands, 12.83; SILVER – France, 14.08; BRONZE – USA, 16.72.
 
Individual Standings: 1, Cortes C (Beezie Madden) USA, 0.16; 2, Casall ASK (Rolf-Goran Bengtsson) SWE, 0.34; 3, Tailormade Esperanza de Rebel (Soren Pedersen) DEN, 3.49; 4, Orient Express (Patrice Delaveau) FRA, 4.08; 5, Status (Rodrigo Pessoa) BRA, 4.10; 6, Conrad de Hus (Gregory Wathelet) BEL, 4.16; 7, Flora de Mariposa (Penelope Leprevost) FRA, 4.40; 8, Cornet D'Amour (Daniel Deusser) GER, 4.70; 9, Glock's London (Gerco Schroder) NED, 5.29; 10, Codex One (Christian Ahlmann) GER, 5.32.

   

Full results and startlists at www.normandy2014.com

 

Facts and Figures:

 

The Netherlands claimed team gold for the second time in the history of the world Jumping championship. Their previous victory was at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ in Aachen (GER) in 2006.
Two of the riders on today's victorious side were also in the 2006 winning team - Jeroen Dubbeldam and Gerco Schroder.
Team France claimed silver ahead of USA in bronze medal position.
9 of the 10 nations qualified for today's last round of the team Jumping championship were chasing both the world championship medals and the top five Olympic qualifying spots on offer.
As host nation, the Brazilian team is automatically qualified for Rio 2016.
Germany finished just outside a medal spot in fourth ahead of Brazil in fifth and Sweden in sixth.
The nations that have clinched Olympic qualifying spots are The Netherlands, France, USA, Germany and Sweden.
9 horse-and-rider combinations jumped clear today, including the USA's Beezie Madden with Cortes C, who has now moved to the top of the individual leaderboard ahead of Saturday's two-round top-30 competition.
Sweden's Rolf-Goran Bengtsson (Casall ASK) holds second place ahead of Denmark's Soren Pedersen in third.  
French rider Patrice Delaveau lost his grip at the top of the individual leaderboard with a fence down this afternoon, but is still lying fourth and less than four penalty points behind Madden at the head of affairs.

 

Quotes:
 
Stefanie Bistan AUT (Bogegaardens Apollonia): "Two clear rounds in two days, just fantastic! Since yesterday Apollonia is really with me to make things right. She jumped the lines very well. After yesterday's success everything was relatively similar for us today in terms of pressure and training".
 
Abdelkebir Ouaddar MAR (Quickly de Kreisker): "The spectators were fantastic today! I felt all their support and I'm delighted with my clear round - actually I'm astonished! I've been in great form for this final. I love this sport, it is magnificent!"
 

German team manager, Otto Becker, said he was “very, very disappointed” with his team’s fourth place. “We came here looking for Olympic qualification, but we also wanted a medal. All our riders did a good job and the horses were in brilliant form. We were well-prepared so it was sad to miss the medal, especially by such a tiny margin.”

Rolf-Goran Bengtsson SWE: “We (the Swedish team) had one too many down today, but we have qualified for the Olympics and we have to be happy with that. My horse has been very consistent all summer, he has done many of the Global Champions Tour competitions, all three rounds, and he had a little break then and now he came back, he’s fresh.  He really likes to be on show again and I must say he has been giving everything in these rounds up to now and I really hope he can continue jumping like this.”
 
Talking about Saturday’s next leg, “you have to stay cool and not get nervous, because then you do some funny little mistake and that costs you the goal you are chasing. I do my job and I do it the best that I can, and really try to focus and keep everything outside my head. It’s just me and my horse going into the ring there, and we want to go clear.”
 
Rodrigo Pessoa BRA: “I’m really happy how the horse is performing. It’s really too bad for the team today, we worked hard yesterday to come back into contention. We were almost there and we had two really small faults today that kept us from a team medal, which is really annoying but that’s the way it is. We were expecting a tough course. It was really well built, it was fluid, it was not crazy big but it was technical and delicate and the time was really short today and that pushes you to take some high-speed corners and to make you have faults, but it was a good round and we are expecting two difficult rounds on Saturday. 

  

Audio:

 

Jeroen Dubbeldam (NED)

 

Kevin Staut (FRA)

 

Beezie Madden (USA)

 

Rolf-Goran Bengtsson (SWE)

 

Rodrigo Pessoa (BRA)

 

Soren Pedersen (DEN)

 

FEI Photo Catalogue: Free images for editorial purposes only are available here 

 

The Dutch claimed gold in the Jumping team championship at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2014 in Normandy today. L - R Jeroen Dubbeldam, Gerco Schroder, Maikel van der Vleuten and Jur Vrieling with Chef d'Equipe Rob Ehrens. (Dirk Caremans/FEI)

The Dutch claimed gold in the Jumping team championship at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2014 in Normandy today. L - R Jeroen Dubbeldam, Gerco Schroder, Maikel van der Vleuten and Jur Vrieling with Chef d'Equipe Rob Ehrens. (Dirk Caremans/FEI)

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