No time to hesitate in yesterday’s Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup at CHIO5* Rotterdam. It wasn’t the course, (designed by Santiago Varela and his team including Louis Konickx and Quintin Maertens) that proved to be tricky to many of the top riders, but finishing within the set time of 80 seconds surely was. It was Maikel van der Vleuten who played a leading role in helping his Dutch team to claim victory. Willem Greve and Zypria S N.O.P. (v. Canturo) backed him up with noting down just a single time penalty. The second place went to the Swedish team and the French ended in third.
In the first round of the Nations Cup twenty combinations remained clear. The Dutch team went to the second round with a total of one penalty, after Michael and Willem’s clear rounds, Marc Houtzager and Sterrehof’s Dante N.O.P. (v. Canturano) time fault and Frank Schuttert and Lynonel D’s result of four penalties crossed off. France, Sweden, Germany and the United States were slightly ahead of the Dutch team, all heading to the second round with zero cumulated penalties.
The second round truly shaked the cards, with the ranking being changed again and again. Van der Vleuten remained clear the second time as well. Willem Greve collected a time penalty, Marc Houtzager did so as well and took a fault close to the end of his course. Frank Schuttert, replacing Harrie Smolders after his unlucky fall in Knokke last week, saw his result being crossed of again, after coming over the finish line with twelve penalties.
With a team total score of seven penalties the team of Dutchmen stayed well ahead of Sweden’s nine and France’s twelve. Under the watchful eyes of Princes Beatrix of The Netherlands, the orange team collected their medals and let the Dutch national anthem resound through the ever so idyllic forest of Kralingen.