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Nicolas Touzaint goes into the lead at Fontainebleau
Fontainebleau, France
Nicolas Touzaint (FRA) and Hildago de l'Ile
The cross country test is the most awaited event during these three days of competition, both for the public and also for the riders themselves. At 11 am in the morning the competition began for the 89 riders taking part. Saturday's agenda was focused on a spectacular course made up of 24 natural obstacles, representing 33 jumping efforts to be performed, spread out over a total distance of 3, 750 m, to be completed in 6'35", the time allowed on the round. This was a hard task even for the best riders present at the event. The water crossings were the areas which proved to be the toughest for the riders. The Generali obstacles located at the beginning of the course (no. 5 the water crossing and no.6 the Boot Jack) resulted in 3 refusals and one elimination for the former and 3 refusals on the latter. The second water crossing (positioned as the 15th obstacle) which was recently created for the European Championships, notched up 4 minor falls and a refusal.

As the cross country test is usually one of his strong points, Nicolas Touzaint, the French leader was eagerly awaited when he arrived at 12.15 pm in the start box. He was in 4th place after the dressage event with Hildago de l'Ile (the horse with which he won the Badminton Horse International Trials (CCI 4*) in 2008). The rider from Angiers confirmed his talent and finished the course -with a wonderful performance- in 6'39'' (1.6 penalty points). As a result he found himself at the top of the provisional line up. None of the other riders managed to dislodge him. Neither Bettina Hoy/ Ringwood Cockatoo (GER) (who was 1st after the dressage test) who finished the cross country test with a time of 7'02" (10.8 pts), nor Lucinda Fredericks / Headley Brittania (AUS), 3rd in the provisional line up the day before, who finished the cross country test in 7'04" (11.6 penalty points) and dropped back to the 7th place after this part of the competition.

The best time for the cross country test (the ideal time) was achieved by the rider and horse which were Olympic Champions in the team event in 2004, Arnaud Boiteau / Expo du Moulin. The rider finished the round without any problems in 6'35". His performance allowed him to climb 12 places in the rankings, putting him in 5th position in the provisional line up after the cross country test.

As for the rankings, here are the results after the cross country test:
Individually: 1- Nicolas Touzaint / Hildago de l'Ile (FRA) 40.6 pts ; 2- Bettina Hoy / Ringwood Cockatoo (GER) 42.5 pts; 3- Lucy Wiegersma / Shaabrak (GB) 43.4 pts ; 4- Simone Deitermann / Flambeau H 3 (GER) 46.7 pts ; 5- Arnaud Boiteau / Expo du Moulin (FRA) 47.5 pts
Teams: 1- France 141.10 pts / 2- Germany 156.30 pts; 3- Great Britain 158.90 pts; 4- Belgium 186.40 pts; 5-The Netherlands 189.70 pts

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