Wednesday, September 23, 2015

European Endurance Championships 2015, Samorin - Full Article

by Leonard Liesens

Belgium in disarray. Spain unreachable. France has reasons to worry. Netherlands at their highest.

The Chefs d’equipe claiming for medals of any color must start to worry, would they speak French or another language. Because Spaniards have been reaching summits of perfection in all domains. The time of one Spanish couple above the others is over. Done! Now we have to fight against an armada – that’s saying a lot – of riders, horses and grooms highly organized and working very hard to achieve their goal. And be sure that behind the Arboix, Punti or Luque, there are a lot of others, ready for the fight.

They took the start at the back of the venue, along the Danube and went very fast from the beginning. The first stage of 40km was bringing the horses to a vetgate in the countryside near the footstep of the Carpathians. Even if this stage wasn’t really totalizing 40km, the speed was impressive. The gap between the leaders and others was already reaching 7 minutes. On the trail they (the Spaniards, Frances, Visser and two Hungarians) were cruising at 23 km/h. The four French riders were already left 7 minutes behind.

Then came the second stage, that everyone was qualifying as tough and technical, heading toward the foothills of the Carpathians. It didn’t seem to slow down too much the leaders; they did it at 18 km/h, way faster than during the preride. The Spanish riders Luque and Cervera had slowed down a bit and were 3 minutes behind the leading group. The French riders arrived at the vetgate 15 minutes later. On top of that, they lost Mosti, lame at the trotting. The Belgians were starting their retreat, losing two riders, Bastijns(flutter) and Boulanger(lameness).

The Finnish amazone Huovinen and the Swedish Henrikson were doing very well, together with the French. Both will finish in the Top Ten, even before the French riders. Henrikson has a good competitive horse, like her compatriot Sara Erikson but the latter was not able to complete. The Finnish rider, on the other hand, was unknown for many. She is living in Spain, so she did learn from the best. Another performance to underline is from the Croatian rider Iva Lipovac, completing 13th with her small looking like a mustang horse...

More story and photos here:

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