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Dutch Win in Lucerne. U.S. Team Ties for Sixth

by gaillardm | Jun 7, 2004, 12:00 AM



The Dutch masters did it again today when sweeping to a decisive second successive victory in the 2004 Samsung Super League in Lucerne and now stand top of the leaderboard going into the midway stage of the series which moves to their home ground in Rotterdam in two weeks time.

In a complete reversal of the inconsistent run of form they displayed during the inaugural 2003 series the Dutch riders looked confident and determined and Chef d’Equipe Bert Romp remarked afterwards "we learned a lot from our Super League experience last year and today with four good riders and horses we enjoyed another wonderful result".

The German squad had been hotly-tipped by their opposition to run away with the Swiss Nations Cup trophy but German Chef d’Equipe Kurt Gravemeier selected The Netherlands as the ones to beat – and he was right. While the German team of Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum (Shutterfly), Marco Kutscher (Montender), Lars Nieberg (Lucie) and Ludger Beerbaum (Goldfever) might just as easily been their Olympic selection they still were not strong enough to hold off the powerful Dutch challenge, and Germany had to settle for runner-up position which they shared with the ever-improving Belgians and the French.

Holland already held the lead at the end of the first round following clears from brothers Wim Schroder (Eurocommerce Montreal) and Gerco Schroder (Eurocommerce Monaco) and just a single time fault for Jan Tops with VDL Groep Grand Dame while Leopold Van Asten provided the discount score with a single rail down with VDL Groep Flash Rouge.

Germany, Britain, Italy and Switzerland were close behind with just four faults each at the halfway stage while USA, France and Belgium were joint-sixth ahead of the ever-struggling Irish with 12.

Round two brought a real turnaround for the Belgians and French. Dirk Demeersman (Clinton) and Stanny van Paesschen (O de Pomme) turned in double-clear performances while Ludo Philippaerts and Parco, who had two fences down first time out, left them all standing at their second attempt, so with nothing further to add to their first-round effort the the Belgians shot up the leaderboard.

Likewise, clears from Florian Angot (First de Launay), a double-clear from Gilles Bertrand de Ballanda (Crocus Graverie) and a faultless second round from new FEI World Cup champions Broucqsault and Dileme de Cephe who made a single error first time out left the French with nothing to add, but Germany collected four extra faults.

Meredith and Shutterfly were foot-perfect all day, but Marco’s Montender dropped a pole in the second round while Ludger added four further faults to the eight collected by Goldfever in round one so, despite a second-round clear for Lars and Lucie the German squad finished on level-pegging with the Belgians and French in second place with a total of eight faults.

The American all-girl squad continue to impress, Kimberley Frey and Marlou in particular apparently taking a real liking to the sport at this level and their respectable 16-fault result was good enough to slot them into fifth ahead of the British who, despite a great start, this time lost their grip in the closing stages to drop to sixth when completing with 17 faults on the board.

If the British weakened however the Italians collapsed, finishing last with 21 faults despite an excellent early effort and, now seventh on the Samsung Super League leaderboard, Duccio Bartalucci’s team will be hoping that they will not find themselves battling to stay in Super League contention for the second year in succession at the end of this season.