Britain Triumphs On Exciting Cross-Country Day At Fontainebleau
Photo: Kit Houghton
Great Britain is on course to win a record 8th consecutive team gold medal at the HSBC FEI European Eventing Championship at Fontainebleau (FRA) after the Cross-Country produced an extraordinary and thrilling day's sport which has dramatically altered the leaderboard.
France has risen to silver medal position - 57 penalties in arrears of Great Britain - despite the shock loss of their defending champion, Nicolas Touzaint (FRA), who was eliminated for jumping the wrong side of a flag at fence 8c, and Italy has moved up three places to bronze, after two brilliant rounds from Roberto Rotatori and Juan Carlos Garcia, who is now in line to make history by winning medals in both the FEI European Jumping and Eventing Championships in one year.
In a disastrous day for Germany, in which three team members were eliminated, Michael Jung (GER) now remains their sole medal hope; he and his brilliant La Biosthetique Sam are in individual silver position after producing a superb early clear round, one of only three inside the optimum time of 10 minutes 27 seconds.
The French team now has to count the score of Eric Vigeanel and the 19-year-old Coronado de Prior, who had two run-outs - ironically, individuals Arnaud Boiteau (FRA) and Didier Dhennin (FRA) are lying 5th and 7th - but 57-year-old anchorman Jean Teulère and his 17-year-old 2002 World Champion Espoir de la Mare, the very last on course, were simply magnificent, returning to a hero's welcome from an ecstatic home crowd.
Germany's day started to go badly wrong when their second team member, Frank Ostholt (GER), was eliminated for three refusals, at the corner at fence 22 and at the narrow fences in the second water complex at 24. Ingrid Klimke (GER) had a difficult jump into the troublesome double of angled brushes at 11 when Butts Abraxxus cat-jumped the first element and then stopped. She, too, was eliminated after further run-outs at the brush arrowhead at fence 16. Individual rider Dirk Schrade and team anchorman Andreas Dibowski both fell at double of arrowheads at fence 14.
The Irish team, also, was wiped out when their first and last riders, Sacha Pemble (IRL) and Elizabeth Power (IRL) were eliminated for three refusals apiece, and The Netherlands fell apart when Jan Van Beek (NED) retired and Tim Lips (NED) had three refusals.
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