Bordeaux: Where the Champions Meet

World Cup FEI Rolex
4th to 6th February 2011: Jumping International de Bordeaux

It’s always the same: The oldest of the World Cup stages remains one of the most appreciated ones by the world’s showjumping elite. A single look at the list of announced participants is enough to see that the 2011 Jumping de Bordeaux will not be an exception to the rule.

For the second time in the history of Jumping de Bordeaux, the figurehead will be French: European Champion, world n°1 and leader of the FEI/Rolex World Cup Kevin Staut will be in Aquitaine – and rather at ease, one might say, as he is at the head of the current ranking, reassured to be number one, and he’s already been qualified for the final of this World Cup for several weeks. The climb of this young French rider over the last two years seems almost incredible, at cyberspeed. Being the first French world n°1 after 20 years (the last one was Eric Navet in 1991) already looks impressive on his success record. Bu at the age of 30, there are always doors he hasn’t opened yet, dreams that are still to be fulfilled, goals that can still be worked towards, among which ranges the victory in a “five star” Grand Prix on French ground. Since 1978, Bordeaux has already seen the victories of nine French riders. Will it also be the place where the French public will see Staut achieve this goal?

The young Frenchman obviously has the talent as well as the motivation for it, but winning in Bordeaux is not a piece of cake as the world’s elite riders all have their good reasons to win in Bordeaux. The German Marcus Ehning (world n°3) most likely wants to repeat his fantastic victory from last year. The Australian Edwina Alexander (world n°8), the Irishwoman Jessica Kuerten (n°11) or the Frenchwoman Pénélope Leprévost (n°14) all have the desire to become the first female winner in one of the few remaining Grand Prix that so far have never seen a woman on the highest podium step. The German Ludger Beerbaum - the rider with the biggest medal collection of all times - has always been wanting to win this Grand Prix, but for about 20 years he was unable to make this wish come true. The World Champion Philippe Le Jeune from Belgium wants to show the world that he is worth his title, and last but not least, the young Frenchman Simon Delestre (n°13), so brilliant at the end of 2010 (3rd place in Brussels and runner-up in Paris) will be very motivated to show a similarly successful performance in the World Cup, now that he is two steps away from a qualification for the final.

This is but a rough digest from the excellent participants list containing the eight Europeans from the world Top10 ranking. The riders will be admired by a bigger audience this year as the capacity of hall 3 has been augmented to 5800 seats. The rider who wins the Grand Prix in 2011 will thus be truly outstanding – which has been the case for all riders ever since 1978 – and he (or she?) will confirm the history of the Jumping de Bordeaux.