The name of a tremendous champion has been added to the rankings of the Grand Prix LGCT of Chantilly: the one of Ludger Beerbaum. 19 medals in championships (Olympics, European and World championships), among them four gold at the Olympics without taking into account his victory and his four podiums in the World Cup, Germany's rider has added Chantilly to his victories for the first time of his career.
Heaven didn't want to interfere with the triumph of this international showjumping legend who won his first Olympic title in 1988 in Seoul, and who's able to bring a gold fifth one from Rio, 28 years later. The storms turned around Chantilly, thunder broke, but the pouring that Paris and around have known didn't came over Chantilly. This way, the Grand Prix took place in the best conditions possible despite a big scare in the first round with the fall of the young France Champion AlexandraPaillot, whose horse, Polias deBlondel has collapsed, approaching the fence and falling on his rider, freezing a bit the crowd. Last news were excellent: the thumb, that we thought broken has only grown a large bruise and nothing else. Polias de Blondel on his side just suffer from a really treatable displacement of the shoulder.
After two technical rounds, the course gave reason to the Jumping sport director, Jean-Maurice Bonneau who has announced eight riders in the jump-off. Among them, only one French left (Robert Breul who signs a great performance with Arsouille du Seigneur), two Germans, one Columbian, one Australian and one Portuguese (two women then), a Dutch and a Swedish. And at the end, just like in soccer... Germany wins over all. Ludger Beerbaumand his grey mare Chiara settled the deal with 70 hundredths ahead of his compatriot Daniel Deusser ( First Class van Eeckelghem). Another Daniel, Columbia's Bluman, complete the podium with Conconcreto Apardi.
We have never seen a Beerbaum that gleaming in Chantilly! Yet, there was a time when he thought he will out on this win again: "I tooka lot of inspirations from Daniel's(Deusser) round, especially on adistance where he went on fiveinstead of six, which made thedifference on my chrono. I wantedto do exactly the same, and when Iwas at five, I was like "shit" (literally), I can't make it so I had to do onemore stride at last minute. So I hadonly one solution left, turn shorterthan him on the penultimatevertical and that's where I made thedifference. I was really happy tojump with Chiare ici because sheis a mare I can always count on;she is fast. She only has jumpedtwo 'five stars' Grand Prix thisseason: one in Doha where shewon, and one in Antwerp whereshe was clear in the first round butwith one pole down in the second.In short, over three Grand Prix, shewins two, and I'm happy, like I'mhappy now to be second of theoverall Longines GlobalChampions Tour rankings as Ihave only participate in 4 of the 7legs that took place." A rankings he also owes to Casello, winner of the Hamburg leg. Individual Olympic champion of 1992 has then two drums for the next Olympic Games of Rio. About that, Ludger dropped a few months ago that he was considering to retire after this major event. Meaning we won't see him in Chantilly anymore? "Maybe..." he said with a mysterious and charismatic smile. The owner, Madeleine Winter-Schulze, thus reassured us: "It'sthe first time I come to Chantilly,and I think I've chosen the rightyear. It's more beautiful than what Iwas told. There is a realatmosphere here, and I want tocome back again. So, don't worry,he will come back too!"
A nice conclusion then for this wonderful class... which almost could never happen as PresidentGerard Manzinali revealed: "OnMonday, when I saw the mess thetrucks that were settling the showdid on the ground, I had a momentof desperation and I almostcanceled everything. Today, therain has decided to give us a restand finally we had a wonderfulGrand Prix with the victory of one ofthe greatest names of this sport'shistory. So yes, now I'm a happyPresident!"