For the first appearance of the new national trainer, Jean-Maurice Bonneau, the French team took the victory in the 1st Nations Cup after the winter break of the 2000-2001 season in La Baule (FRA). Nine teams were at the start. Switzerland (in spite of the presence of World Cup champion Markus Fuchs and Tinka's Boy), Germany (with a weak team) and Ireland (leader throughout the 1999/2000 season) were eliminated after the first round.
In this first round, the Netherlands team gave the impression to be unbeatable, performing two clear rounds (van der Vleuten/Audi's Jikka and Angelique Horn/Hascal), and scoring only 4 faults. France was just behind (with 8 points), and Belgium third (12).
In the second round, Dutch riders could not resist the pressure and, except Angelique Hoorn, accumulated faults. The second round summed up to a battle between France and Belgium. After three riders the equality was perfect between both European neighbours. The decision went on the shoulders of both "captains" of their team: Ludo Philippaerts/Parco for Belgium and Thierry Pomel/Thor des Chaines for France. Philippaerts was the first to go but cracked up: Parco had a fault on the massive oxer n°3. Pomel always seems to like this kind of situation: the more pressure he has, the better he rides. He offered the victory to France with an impeccable clear round.
Third at La Baule, Italy still leads the Samsung Nations Cup Series ahead of Belgium, Germany and France.
1- France (Bourdy/Hélios, 4 + 12 ; Bonnet/Apache d'Adriers HN, 4 + 4 ;
Hécart/Kannan, 0 + 0 ; Pomel/Thor des Chaînes 8 + 0). Total 8 + 4 + 12
2- Belgium (12 + 4 = 16)
3- Italy (20 + 8= 28)
4- Great Britain (16 + 12 = 28)
5- The Netherlands (4 + 29 = 33)
6- Spain (20 + 29 = 49)
7- Ireland (32)
8- Switzerland (32)
9- Germany (36)
Samsung Nations Cup Series Standings :
1. Italy, 19 pts
2. Belgium, 17 pts
3. Germany,11 pts
4. France, 10 pts
5. Switzerland , 9 pts
6. USA, 8 pts
Complete results on website: www.labaule-cheval.com