Spotlight
on Saumur

15 April 2019

2014 WEG medallist Hannah Eccles previews this weekend's FEI Vaulting World Cup™ final...

This weekend the highly anticipated FEI Vaulting World Cup™ final will be held for the first time in Saumur, France. Saumur, a town with a rich equestrian heritage, will provide the perfect backdrop as the world’s best vaulters bid for FEI World Cup™ glory.

 

Germany will look to replicate last year’s clean sweep of successes, with Kristina Boe, Jannis Drewell and Theresa-Sophie Bresch & Torben Jacobs returning to defend their titles, Drewell looking for a hat-trick of consecutive FEI World Cup™ wins in front of the FEI TV cameras.

Off the back of a captivating qualification period, never before has the competition been quite so fierce, with multiple frontrunners coming to the fore.

Who will win the 2019 female title?

A heavyweight bout has been announced in the individual female competition, with Germany and Switzerland each fielding three powerhouse vaulters.

 

Once again we will witness the return of the Büttiker/ Boe rivalry which has kept us on the edge of our seats throughout the past two seasons.

 

Double FEI World Equestrian Games™ gold medallist and returning champion Kristina Boe, has been thrilling audiences throughout the qualification period by bringing back old, favourite freestyle reincarnations.  It will be enthralling to see which themes Boe decides to interpret for the final, in what is her final event before retirement.

 

After missing out on top honours at both the Leipzig and Offenburg qualifiers, Kristina will be looking to recreate the magic from the Dortmund final last year.

 

Executing a fairy-tale qualifying campaign after taking top honours at Paris, Salzburg and Offenburg, Nadja Büttiker heads to Saumur as the one to beat.

After narrowly missing out on the title to Kristina Boe last year, following a slip off the croup of Keep Cool III in her final freestyle, Nadja has positioned herself in good stead to go one better in Saumur. Her dynamic, expressive routine laden with intricacies, continues to excite and inspire.

 

A viral sensation, Janika Derks’ (GER) winning round video from Leipzig has been shared around the world, enticing a new audience into the sport. The FEI World Equestrian Games™ silver medallist could deliver the knockout blow in Saumur to take the top step on the podium.

 

Corinna Knauf (GER), Ilona Hannich (SUI) and Marina Mohar (SUI) all have title winning characteristics.

 

Multiple male contenders head to Saumur, but can Jannis Drewell make it a hat-trick?

 

Despite a difficult qualification campaign, you can never bet against returning, defending champion Jannis Drewell (GER).  Renowned for rising to the occasion, a defining factor in his quest to retain the title could be which horse he decides to partner.

 

Momentum currently lies with his fellow countryman Jannik Heiland who heads to Saumur with maximum qualifying points after back-to-back wins at Leipzig & Offenburg. Heiland continues to exude confidence, harmony and showcase the many strings to his bow; strength, flexibility, expression, all whilst embodying his theme of ‘The Pianist’. 

 

It may be the battle of the Brüsewitz brothers as ‘honorary’ brother Heiland lines up against both Thomas and Viktor Brüsewitz. Their contrasting Vaulting styles, makes for captivating viewing.

Prepare for a wave of noise as last year’s runner-up and the sole French representative, Clement Taillez takes to the arena. Can the home support elevate Taillez to World Cup glory? Whilst Paris winner Lukas Heppler and Salzburg champion Lorenzo Lupacchini both look to convert qualifying triumph into final victory.

 

Representing the Americas, 19-year-old Juan Martin Clavijo from Colombia will be the youngest individual competitor in the final.  In his debut FEI World Cup™ season, he has made a resounding impact, finishing on the podium at all three qualifiers he attended.

 

Kristian Roberts (USA) will compete in his first ever individual FEI Vaulting World Cup™ final.

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In the pairs, three duos will bid for glory in Saumur...

Returning champions Theresa-Sophie Bresch & Torben Jacobs will be favourites to defend their title.  Their eye-catching ‘matador’ freestyle and difficult lifts, coupled with their wealth of competition experience will prove tough to beat.

Staking their claim on the trophy, the USA’s Haley Smith & Daniel Janes will hope to capitalise on an incredible run of form, whilst last year’s runners-up Syra Schmid & Zoe Maruccio (SUI) will look to turn silver into gold.

 

In a sport of margins, anything can happen on the day!

 

Tune into coverage of FEI World Cup™ Vaulting Final 2018-19 from Thursday, April 18 to Saturday, April 20. The first two days are available for free on FEI TV and the FEI's Facebook and YouTube channels. The final day is exclusively live on FEI TV...

 

Words by Hannah Eccles

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